Historical Chinese Language Materials in BC

The David Lam Centre in cooperation with the Asian Studies Library at the University of British Columbia has developed a database of Historical Chinese Language Materials in BC.

The database created by the project comprises over 11,000 records of Chinese-language items such as manuscripts, newspapers, correspondence, genealogical and family records, business transaction records, association records, certificates, receipts, textbooks, and photographs.

The site also provides image galleries on clan associations and pioneer families, a directory of Chinese associations in British Columbia, a directory of religious organizations in British Columbia, links to information websites of various Chinatowns across British Columbia, and other related materials.

These records, which date back to 1800, were documented throughout the province, and represent contributions from seventeen resource centres, seven pioneer families, and a number of individuals. The resulting database is searchable in Chinese, English, and Pinyin. In order to improve the hit rate on searches, an English-Chinese dictionary is incorporated into the index file. The dictionary automatically converts searches from vernacular Chinese to Pinyin and vice versa. The database incorporates more than 500 images of archival materials. The next stage of the project will focus on digitizing major collections. A downloadable template is available, allowing remote users to contribute records and images for items in their possession.