Rare Books and Special Collections, UBC Library, reopens on September 18, 2007

Posted on August 23, 2007 @12:16 pm by kalsbeek

Riddington Room at IKBLCRare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) at UBC Library’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre has been closed since August 3, 2007 to allow for the joining of phases one and two of the building. Due to construction-related factors, the job is now scheduled for completion on Friday, September 14. RBSC will reopen on Tuesday, September 18. Communication with RBSC may be difficult on Monday, September 17 since we will be moving computers and other equipment. RBSC will not be open for Saturday service on September 8 and 15. Staff will not be able to provide public service in person or public access to collections until September 18 as the RBSC reading room is at the centre of construction. However, reference and information help via e-mail ( and telephone (604-822-8208) is available.

The Library regrets any inconvenience that this closure may cause.

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Archival Research Tutorial

Posted on August 22, 2006 @12:22 pm by kalsbeek

In Canadian public and academic institutions, there is not a lot of online information available for people new to archival research. Katherine Kalsbeek, Reference Librarian in Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library, and Carolyn Casenas (a former adjunct archivist at York University) developed an onine tutorial intended for undergraduate and graduate students who have little or no experience doing research in an archives.

The goal of the tutorial is to guide users in the research process and the culture of archives. The tutorial can be used in its entirety or in sections. While the basic content is the same, the examples and procedures outlined in each tutorial are institution specific. To access the tutorials, please see the UBC version at or the York version at

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Rare Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Period are now Digitized

Posted on July 10, 2006 @12:28 pm by kalsbeek

Rare Books and Special Collections, and University Archives, at UBC Library are pleased to announce the launch of a newly digitized collection: “Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era”, at

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections holds one of the world’s largest collections of maps and guidebooks of the Japanese Edo period, also called the Tokugawa period, 1603-1867. The core of the collection was formed after World War II by George H. Beans. Over 300 maps from the collection have been digitized and are searchable and viewable online. The digitization process allows the user to see a whole map as well as offering detailed views of larger or smaller portions of the maps.

The focus of the Beans collection is on privately published and travel-related maps and guides published in Japan. There is world coverage, although the majority of maps are of the whole or parts of Japan . A number of prominent Japanese woodblock artists are represented in the collection.

The digitization of the Japanese Map Collection is a collaborative project between the UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections and the University Archives. In the first phase of the project all the single-sheet maps have been digitized. A second phase will digitize the maps in atlases. Bronwen Sprout, Digital Initiatives Librarian at the University Archives, and Katherine Kalsbeek, Reference and Maps Librarian at Rare Books and Special Collections guided the first phase of the project to completion. Special thanks to Leslie Field, Archives Assistant, who provided expert assistance and guidance with the digitizing work.

The project is funded by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, and has also received support from the Department of Asian Studies. The collection is located at: (click on the “detailed image” link in each record to zoom in on the images). Please send comments or suggestions to: Bronwen Sprout or Katherine Kalsbeek.

For further information about viewing the collection, please contact Ralph Stanton , Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian.

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Workshop announcement: 2006 Early-Modern Komonjo and Kuzushiji workshop

Posted on February 12, 2006 @12:35 am by kalsbeek

The Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia is now accepting applications for the 2006 Early-Modern Komonjo and Kuzushiji Workshop. The Workshop will take place July 16-August 12 on the UBC campus in Vancouver, Canada.

Historian Umezawa Fumiko of Keisen University will lead participants in a review of kanbun, hentaigana, and sorobun, before focusing on travel documents from the UBC Early-Modern Beans Map Collection. The Workshop is co-sponsored by UBC-Asian Studies with Stanford University , and co-directed by Joshua Mostow and Christina Laffin.

We welcome applications from graduate students, faculty members, educators, museum curators, and library professionals. In addition to room and board, the participation fee is CAD$500, with limited scholarship assistance likely available. The application deadline is March 15, 2006. Further information on the Workshop and an application form are available at

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Fine Lines: An exhibition on artist and writer, Heather Spears

Posted on April 25, 2005 @12:33 am by kalsbeek

UBC Rare Books and Special Collections and Koerner Library would like to announce the opening of: Fine Lines: An exhibition on artist and writer, Heather Spears, on now at Koerner Library. Curated by students from the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies with assistance from Rare Books and Special Collections, the exhibition features material recently donated to the library.

The exhibition showcases unpublished material documenting Heather Spears’ successful career as both a visual artist and a writer. A former UBC student, Heather Spears has published 11 collections of poetry (4 with drawings), 3 science fiction novels, 3 books of drawings, and 1 crime novel. Spears has won numerous awards for her artistic works including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 1989 for The Word for Sand. Spears has also held over 75 solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

The exhibition runs through the end of August 2005 and is located in Humanities & Social Sciences, Floor 2, Koerner Library.

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RBSC Finding Aids Go Digital!

Posted on March 14, 2005 @12:30 am by kalsbeek

The revision of the “Manuscript” section of the Rare Books and Special Collections website is now complete. Where previously there was only a general description of the collection there is now a general or detailed description and an inventory. In total there are 433 inventories for RBSC manuscript collections accessible online in PDF format. Please note that for very small collections (e.g. one folder of material), there may not be a digital finding aid available. To access the descriptions and inventories of RBSC manuscript collections, go to the Manuscripts home page.

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New Circulation System

Posted on February 21, 2005 @12:23 am by kalsbeek

Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) and University Archives (UA) are now using an electronic system to circulate our materials to the Reading Room. If you are a non-UBC user and would like to use RBSC or UA materials, we ask that you first register using our Patron Registration Form available at:

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Collection Policy

Posted on July 8, 2004 @12:28 am by kalsbeek

For a short overview of the Rare Books and Special Collection’s collection policy, click here.

For a detailed description of RBSC’s print and archival collections, see UBC Library Rare Books and Special Collections General Guidelines for Collecting and List of Major Collections Print and Archival, click here (note: this is a Microsoft Word document).

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Textbook Exhibition

Posted on April 17, 2004 @11:29 pm by kalsbeek

UBC Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) is pleased to present, Hitting the Books: the Early Canadian School Textbook Collection in UBC Rare Books and Special Collections. The RBSC textbook collection is one of the country’s largest, with books dating from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Some of the texts were printed in Britain or the United States of America, but the majority were printed in Canada.

This exhibition is a reconnaissance mission to provide a glimpse into some of the unique features of the collection. It looks at three early Canadian publishers and their works. It also provides some insight into the life of Canadian students from the late eighteenth through to the early twentieth century.

This exhibition is located in the display cases in Rare Books and Special Collections and will be on display from April to the end of August.

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