Immigrant Chinese paper goes online

May 18, 2006, volume 36, no. 2
By Carol Thorbes

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Twenty thousand pages of a newspaper that was once the only information source for Chinese immigrants in Canada about their homeland in their original language will make their online debut at SFU's Multicultural Canada Conference.

Until recently, the Chinese Times was only publicly accessible by perusing fragile hard copies and safeguarded microfilms.

The digitization of the Chinese Times is one of the largest of five major projects connected to the Multicultural Canada Digitization Project at the SFU W.A.C. Bennett library. Published by the Chinese Freemasons Society of Canada between 1915 and 1992, the Chinese Times printed 280,000 pages in Vancouver and Alberta before its presses stopped. “The Freemasons Society published a 12-page daily issue Monday to Saturday. One of its goals was to help the Chinese revolutionary, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, overthrow China's Qing Dynasty. Today, the paper provides a fascinating record of early immigrant life in Western Canada,” says Ian Yiliang Song.

The digital initiatives coordinator in the W.A.C. Bennett library's systems division, Song is overseeing the digitization of the paper. Full-text Chinese content of the paper and its English summary will be fully searchable on line.

Song and Mark Jordan, head of library systems at the library, will unveil their work thus far - the digitization of the Chinese Times up until 1924 - at the conference.

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