December 15, 2008

Old News Pages Offer New Insights

There are no more trips to the library, squinting at pages of microfiche, for those who are interested in BC’s history. Thanks to a partnership between the University of Victoria and the Victoria Times Colonist, the world can now search through historic editions of the newspaper online.

The website,, is officially launched this month. It contains issues of the British Colonist, which is one of the oldest daily newspapers in Western Canada, and one of the best records of colonial BC. Every page of every issue between the first one, on December 11, 1858, and the end of June 1910 is now online—a total of 100,544 pages.

“December 11 is the exact date of the 150th anniversary of the Times Colonist,” says Times Colonist Editor-in-Chief Lucinda Chodan. “We’re delighted to mark that occasion by giving something back to the community that has helped us thrive for the last century and a half—a legacy in perpetuity to the citizens of Victoria, Vancouver Island and British Columbia.”

Until now, the British Colonist newspaper, under many differing titles, has been available only on microfilm in a few libraries. The newspaper is the sole source of some types of information. For instance, during the first 30 years of its existence the newspaper covered the proceedings of the British Columbia legislative assemblies, which makes it the only documentation of its kind of this body. The British Colonist also reported on most court cases and is the only surviving record of judicial proceedings in the early days of the colony.

“The new site is important for historical researchers and genealogists,” says Chris Petter, the head of Special Collections at UVic’s McPherson Library, who helped to manage the project. “Some of its content even predates the establishment of the province and Canada. As such, the site will provide historical researchers—including students and genealogists—with a rich full look at our history.”

Petter and his team built an interface that provides the ability to search either chronologically or by using keywords. The interface also displays the digital image of each page of the newspaper with the search words highlighted.

The project is also supported by the Times Colonist. UBC’s Ike Barber Learning Centre, the Electronic Library Network of British Columbia, the BC Public Library Services Branch and the Greater Victoria Public Library provided additional support.

December 12, 2008

Get your Christmas reading (and listening) from Alloway Library

From Dickens to Seuss (or from Augustine to Wildsmith) Alloway Library has many resources to enhance your Advent and Christmas season.

A quick keyword search of the library's catalogue reveals nearly 300 books and CDs with the word "Christmas" in the record. Of course, there are lots of scholarly works on the topic; from An astronomer's point of view to many theological studies and exegetical analyses of the Bible's account, as well as more popular works by Christian authors. You could read the 2006-2011 World Outlook for Chocolate Christmas Candy online. But there are plenty of other good books for a winter's night read. A few examples from the collection include:

If you've got children (of any age) at home during the holidays, there are some beautifully illustrated picture books to enjoy, available from the Curriculum collection, with titles like The wild Christmas reindeer, The star of the manger, The Christmas menorahs: how a town fought hate, Wombat divine, The shine man, An orange for Frankie and The little drummer boy.

Alloway Library also has Christmas music CDs. A search for the keywords Christmas sound recording shows 19 results featuring lots of medieval and classical works as well as the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir and The Boston Pops. You'll also find Christmas music books to help make your own Christmas music!

Material checked out now will be due in the new year for most borrowers, so take a browse of the catalogue and then head on over to Alloway Library. We are open December 15 to 19th before closing until January 5th.