Category Archives: General

Our online search has been upgraded

You may have noticed that our SearchArchives database looks a little different. For example, the information for a full record is in a more compact form, reducing the amount of scrolling you’ll have to do.

Illustration of reduced screen area for new results

Screenshots of identical dimensions show the dramatic difference. The old version is on the left and the new one on the right.

The software has recently been upgraded to version 2.1 of AtoM. Most of the changes in the updated version affect how things are handled behind the scenes. Besides the example above, there are other changes that affect users:

Improved search times. Updates to the search index have reduced the time it takes the database to respond to your search query.

Searchable subject and place terms. There is a search box that appears on the Browse Subjects and Browse Places pages that allows you to search for specific terms, rather than just browse them.  Be sure to hit the magnifying glass symbol (indicated below) to search.

Search results for subject term “building*”.

Search results for subject term “building*”.

Better list of search results. There has been a change to the results algorithm that will give you results in a slightly different order.

Results of searching for “dog”. The old version is on the left and the new one on the right.

Results of searching for “dog”. The old version is on the left and the new one on the right.

We are anticipating further improvements to our SearchArchives database with the AtoM 2.2 release later this summer.

Happy Holidays

The Archives will be closed from noon Tuesday December 24 to 9am Thursday January 2.

Orpheum Holiday Card 1913

Card from the Orpheum Theatre, 1913. Reference code AM1519-: PAM 1913-10.

This holiday card is not from the Orpheum Theatre we have today but from the second of three theatres in Vancouver which had the Orpheum name. That theatre  was built in 1891 as the Vancouver Opera House and was renamed Orpheum in 1913.

Camping at the Seaside: The “fashionable” thing to do in summer

From about 1894 to 1908, summer camping on the beach was considered a fashionable holiday tradition, enjoyed by many of Vancouver’s early well-to-do families.

The most popular spot was Greer’s (now Kits) Beach, where “tent town” comprised two long rows of tents on either side of an irregular “street” of beach sand. Greer’s Beach was reached by boat down False Creek from Carrall Street; on foot across the CPR trestle bridge or via a sinuous trail through the cleared area; or by buggy over a former wagon track used by loggers with their oxen.

English Bay Beach was another popular camping site, where, in 1898, “about two score tents extended to the West” and “many were commodious and richly furnished.”

These are the camping beaches shown in the images below.

Beach camping was discontinued after 1908, due to improper sanitation conditions and increased development. Continue reading

History Of The Archives

This post was written by Marek Bula.

The Archives has a long history. Here’s a look at how we grew.

J.S. Matthews’ home, where the archives were kept before being moved to the Holden Building in 1931. Reference code AM54-S4-: Str P90.01

In 1931, Major J.S. Matthews’ extensive personal collection of photos and documents relating to Vancouver was moved to the Holden Building, Vancouver’s temporary City Hall at 16 East Hastings. This included thousands of documents and photographs—such as interviews with early pioneers and aboriginal people—relating to the history and development of the City of Vancouver.  Continue reading

Spotlight on volunteers – Kaitlin Haley

Kaitlin Haley began volunteering at the Archives in the summer of 2012. After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at UBC in history and political science in 2010, she worked as a flight attendant, taking a break from school and deciding on a graduate studies program. An interest in archives and libraries lead her to us. Like many of our other volunteers, Kaitlin has given of her time generously elsewhere including lifeguarding for the World Police and Firefighter Games, running activities at the Musqueam Reading Club and facilitating and helping to organize events for the Beauty Night Society.

Kaitlin at UBC holding her B.A.

Kaitlin at UBC holding her B.A.

After being accepted to several archival and library schools across Canada, Kaitlin chose the program farthest from this coast, Halifax. She will be earning a Master of Library and Information Studies at Dalhousie starting in 2014. Her choice to defer for a year will allow her to continue working for the UN as a flight attendant. Between stints in Africa, which she is currently visiting, we hope Kaitlin will find some down time to visit us before she goes jetting off again! Continue reading

Australia Day

January 26 is Australia Day, Australia’s national day. We have records that show some of Vancouver’s interactions with Australia and Australians. Here are a few examples.

The Young Australia League is a youth organization founded in 1905 that promotes “education through travel”, among other activities. They stopped in Vancouver during their 1929 overseas tour, along with a burro they picked up in their travels.

Young Australia League with burro

Members of the Young Australia League with burro, May 1929. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code AM1535-: CVA 99-2027

Continue reading

2012 Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference

In early December, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Seattle. Here are a few of the highlights.

Cinerama street view

The Cinerama has been restored to its 1963 space-age look. A showing of “Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock” was a highlight outside of the conference program. Photograph: Sue Bigelow

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is a professional association for those involved in the preservation and access of moving image heritage. Members come from all over the world to attend the conference.

Ffmpeg workshop

There was an excellent workshop on uses of ffmpeg for archivists. Ffmpeg is open source, free software for working with multimedia files. One of the advantages for archives is that ffmpeg is always adding the capability of working with new types of files, but not getting rid of any old functionality. This means that if archivists encounter an outdated type of file, ffmpeg may be able to work with it. Ffmpeg software can analyze a file and report on all the different kinds of data inside. We store the original files in our digital archives but we also create another version using ffmpeg that can be viewed on a modern computer. Continue reading

Happy Holidays

The Archives will be closed from noon Monday December 24 to 9am Tuesday January 2.

Card from Mayor Rathie and Mrs. Rathie used 1963-66. Reference code PUB-: PDS 50

See you in the new year!

Remembering . . .

. . . the preparation . . .

29th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force training at Hastings Park, 1914. Stuart Thomson photo. Reference code AM1535-: CVA 99-155

Recruiting Station at Victory Square, 1941. Photographer unknown. Reference code AM54-S4-: Mil P265

Continue reading

Something’s cooking in the Archivist’s kitchen

Second in a series about the BC Sugar records

While continuing to process our BC Sugar fonds, I had the pleasure of finding some cookbooks and they inspired me to try some historical recipes. Read on to see how they turned out.

“Great dessert ideas…try Rogers on ice cream!” Reference code: AM1592-S7-F1-: 2011-092.1557

Cookbooks are a favourite resource for social and cultural historians as well as scholars of gender studies and women’s studies. But the list of academics that use cookbooks as sources does not end there. Studying literature can be enriched by knowing what people were eating and cooking at various times. Continue reading