Meet Diana Andrews, recipient of the UBC Undergraduate Prize in Library Research

About the prize

The UBC Undergraduate Prize in Library Research is a way to showcase students’ effective and innovative use of library services, information experts and resources provided by the UBC Library. Applications for these prizes also provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their information-seeking experience, showcase their research beyond the classroom, and promote scholarship excellence at the undergraduate level at the University of British Columbia.

The Prize was established by UBC Library to encourage more and deeper use of its resources and collections, to advance information literacy at UBC, and to promote academic excellence at UBC.

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about your project?

Written for my English honours seminar on World War I literature, my paper reads Mary Borden’s fictionalized memoir, The Forbidden Zone (1929), as an unlikely addition to the Weird tradition, a genre of horror flourishing during the early twentieth century. A nurse writing behind the Belgian frontlines, Borden’s text offers a perspective of World War I shaped by her care of fragmented bodies and an endless tide of the dying. Because the project is so closely tied to historical events, extensive research was key to the writing process.

Q: What does winning this prize mean to you?

“Scholarships like this one, which recognize that research is something undergraduates can perform, are incredibly validating.”

I’m planning on pursuing an academic career, and so professionalization is something I’m thinking about a lot. Scholarships like this one, which recognize that research is something undergraduates can perform, are incredibly validating.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

After I finish my degree in English literature, I hope to attend graduate school and then eventually teach and research in the field. My research interests include Weird fiction and depictions of feminine monstrosity and disability in ecogothic literature.

Q: Do you have a favourite research spot at UBC Library?

“The immediacy of the actual physical books and the old archival publications is inspiring and helpful.”

This may seem like an odd answer, but I like Koerner’s florescent-lit first floor, down with the stacks. The immediacy of the actual physical books and the old archival publications is inspiring and helpful. I understand the need for storage solutions, but browsing physical collections is a genuinely valuable part of research.

New Books at the Law Library – 24/05/21

LAW LIBRARY reference room (level 2): KE250 .M328 2024 Moira McCarney, Ruth Kuras, Annette Demers & Shelley Kierstead, The Comprehensive Guide to Legal Research, Writing & Analysis, 4th ed. (Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited, 2024).

2024 UBC Undergraduate Prize in Library Research award ceremony

Award recipients with Dr. Susan E. Parker.

Alexei Villareal, Kyla Terenzek, CJ McGillivray, and Diana Andrews with Dr. Susan E. Parker, University Librarian.

On May 15th, winners of the 2024 UBC Undergraduate Prize in Library Research celebrated their awards with family, faculty, donors and other members of the UBC community. The event was hosted by Dr. Susan E. Parker who was joined by other speakers including Aleteia Greenwood, Associate University Librarian, Research & Scholarship.

Diana Andrews speaking about her project.

Diana Andrews speaking about her project.

This year’s winners include:

  • Diana Andrews, 3rd year Faculty of Arts student, won a $2,000 prize for her statement on her project A Machine Inhabited by the Ghost of a Woman’: Nonhuman Agency in Mary Borden’s The Forbidden Zone.
  • CJ McGillivray, 3rd year Faculty of Arts student, won a $2,000 prize for her statement on her project The Ideal (Ro)man: How Portia Balances Violence and Integrity in Julius Caesar.
  • Kyla Terenzek, 4th year Faculty of Arts student, won a $2,000 prize for her statement on her project No species-level evidence of thermophilization in microclimates of the Mytilus edulis species complex in the Pasley Island Archipelago after the 2021 Pacific Northwest Heat Dome.
  • Alexei Villareal, 3rd year Faculty of Arts student, won a $1,000 for his statement on his project (Extra)ordinary People: Familial Memory and Heterotopia in the Visual Chinatown of Yucho Chow.
Guests meeting the winners and asking them questions about their project.

Guests meeting the winners and asking them questions about their projects.

Students and their instructors provided short presentations about their projects, highlighting their effective and innovative use of library services, information experts and resources provided by UBC Library. The ceremony was followed by a reception for guests to meet the winners and learn more about their projects.

Aleteia Greenwood (Associate University Librarian, Research & Scholarship), Dr. Susan E. Parker (University Librarian), and Dr. Sabina Magliocco (Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Chair of the Program in Religion)

Aleteia Greenwood (Associate University Librarian, Research & Scholarship), Dr. Susan E. Parker (University Librarian), and Dr. Sabina Magliocco (Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Chair of the Program in Religion).

Congratulations to Diana, CJ, Kyla, and Alexei!

Learn more about the UBC Undergraduate Prize in Library Research and how you can apply for the 2025 prize.

Closed for Victoria Day – Monday, May 20, 2024

What’s That Number? A Thirty-Minute Dive into Deciphering a Traditional Chinese Numeral System

Many thanks to guest blogger Lily Liu for contributing the below post! Lily is a graduate student at the UBC School of Information and recently completed a Professional Experience with Rare Books and Special Collections Library.

During my time working with the Lock Tin Lee fonds at the RBSC, I came upon a certificate that used a number I had never seen.

Image 1: close-up of a number I did not recognize

From my RBSC peers, I learned that this number belonged to a system called Suzhou numerals (苏州码子; 蘇州碼子). As per their namesake, these numerals originated from the Suzhou region in China and were a traditional numeral system used by the Chinese before the introduction of Indo-Arabic numerals. Due to its ease of use, the Suzhou numeral system was popular amongst merchants, bookkeepers, and other calculation-centric occupations. It is the only surviving variant of the rod numeral system still in use today and can be found in the markets, old-style tea restaurants, and traditional Chinese medicine shops in Hong Kong and Macau.

But what was the number on the certificate specifically? It did not correspond immediately to any numbers on the comparison chart for Suzhou numerals.

Image 2: comparison chart for Suzhou numerals

Deciphering the number became a collaborative effort between my curious roommate, myself, and the comparison chart. Our thought process proceeded as follows:

Option 1: 42?

〤 and 〢 are accounted for, but there are two additional horizontal strokes to the right that do not correspond to any number immediately on the chart, and the strokes look too intentional to be a mistake.

Option 2: 417?

Perhaps the writer just really elongated the short vertical stroke on top of the Suzhou numeral “7” (〧), and just really missed the stroke’s centre positioning and shifted it to the left? Yes…we were pushing it.

Image 3: a visual explanation supplied by my roommate

Option 3: 422!

My roommate spotted the smaller text that noted exceptions to the standard comparison chart.

Image 4: Wikipedia excerpt explaining exceptions to the numbers’ forms

Essentially, because numbers 1, 2, and 3 all use vertical strokes in the Suzhou numeral system, adjustments to these numbers’ standard forms are made whenever they appear consecutively to avoid confusion. In our case, when two “twos” appear consecutively, their form changes to “〢二”: the certificate’s number is 422.

Between reading up on the system and our back and forth quibbles we took a total of thirty minutes to arrive at the answer—but what a satisfying conclusion it was!

Please note: The overview above is paraphrased from Wikipedia pages on Suzhou numerals, which are below. A link about counting rods (算筹; 算籌), the ancient form of mathematical calculation in East Asia, is also below.

Exploring Japanese Travel Narratives in Tokugawa Era

This week’s blog post explores the fascinating world of Japanese travel during the Tokugawa period (1603 – 1868), both within Japan and beyond its borders. All materials shown in this blog post are from our Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection which is available through Open Collection.

1. Seiyū ryotan (西遊旅譚) [A Diary of Travel from Edo to Nagasaki] – 1794

One notable work featured in this collection is the Seiyū ryotan, which was created by Shiba Kōkan (司馬 江漢, 1738?-1818), a prominent figure in Japanese art history. Shiba, a celebrated painter and printmaker during the Tokugawa period, was renowned for his Western-style Yōga (洋画) paintings, which drew inspiration from Dutch oil painting techniques and themes. Seiyū ryotan is a compilation of travel narratives accompanied by sketches of landscapes and people. Look at how Shiba captures people dancing in a circle and the beauty of Mount Fuji!

Illustrations of people dancing and singing in Seishū (勢州), which is another name for Ise Province (伊勢国)

Illustration of Mount Fuji

Illustrations of Osaka

2. Amerika shinwa (亜墨新話) [New Stories about America] – 1844

Another intriguing manuscript within this Collection is the Amerika shinwa, which offers a unique perspective into Japan’s encounter with the American continent during the mid-19th century. It is essentially a work of Hyōryūki, which is the Japanese term for narratives about being cast away as a result of a shipwreck. Amerika shinwa was compiled under the order of the Daimyo of Awa province. It narrates the tale of Hatsutarō’s voyage, which began in Japan in October 1841. It details his shipwreck in February 1842, subsequent rescue by a Spanish ship, arrival in Lower California and Mexico, and eventual journey back to Canton (Guangzhou or China).

Illustration of Macau, Guangdong

Illustration of a wedding ceremony


3. Kaigai shinwa (海外新話) [Story from Overseas] – 1849

Kaigai shinwa is a 5-volume text that demonstrates Japan’s understanding of western power and dominance, along with their insight into the first Opium War in China (1839-1842).

Illustration of an English Commander


The Sakoku “closed country” (鎖国) policy at the time effectively barred Japanese observers from being in China to witness the Opium War firsthand. Consequently, it greatly affected how Japanese learnt about the War and their understanding was significantly shaped by this isolation. For Kaigai shinwa, rather than a straightforward historical retelling, it is a narrative that blends historical events with elements added for storytelling impact to attract a broader audience. Some of these additions were likely introduced by the author, Mineta, Fūkō (1817-83) in order to enrich the narrative, while others may have been borrowed from other sources. In other words, Kaigai shinwa presents a mix of factual information alongside instances of misinformation and fabrication.

The book opens with a poem urging Japanese to view the Chinese defeat in the Opium War against Great Britain as a warning of potential future events in Japan.

Illustrations of English naval ships

While Kaigai Shinwa gained popularity among intellectuals at the time, it faced strong opposition from Shogunate officials. In fact, Kaigai shinwa was eventually banned by the Shogunate. Its author, Mineta, was subsequently imprisoned on charges of publishing the work without obtaining official consent and inspection.


We hope you enjoy this little dive into the rich and diverse narratives found within the Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection. Each manuscript offers a unique glimpse into Japan’s historical encounters and perspectives on the broader world during the Tokugawa period.

Thank you for reading!


Works cited:

Escalona Echániz, J. M. (2022). An analysis of Amerika shinwa : manuscript circulation and epistemological background in early modern Japan. University of British Columbia.

Google Arts and Culture. (n.d.). Shiba Kōkan.

Dower, J. W. (2010). The opium war in Japanese eyes : an illustrated 1849 “Story from Overseas” Essay by John W. Dower. MIT Visualizing Cultures.

Wataru, M. (2000). Japan and China: Mutual Representations in the Modern Era (J.A. Fogel, Ed.; J.A. Fogel, Trans.; 1st ed.). Routledge.

Chung | Lind Gallery now open!

UBC Library is excited to announce the official opening of the Chung | Lind Gallery showcasing the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection and Phil Lind Klondike Gold Rush Collection. The new exhibition space in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on UBC’s Vancouver campus brings together two library collections of rare and culturally significant materials from Canada’s history.

Read more about the Chung | Lind Gallery:


We know that our patrons have missed being able to visit the Chung Collection Room as we have worked to prepare the new gallery. Thank you so much for your patience! We look forward to welcoming you to the new space and also introducing you to the Phil Lind Klondike Gold Rush Collection for the first time.

The Chung | Lind Gallery, on level 2 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-5 pm. The gallery is free and open to the public, and people of all ages are encouraged to attend. Small group tours and class visits are available by appointment. For more information, please contact (604) 822-3053 or

New Books at the Law Library – 24/05/07

LAW LIBRARY reference room (level 2): KE4270 .B87 2023
Donald F. Bur, Law of the Constitution: The Distribution of Powers, 2nd ed. (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2023).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KTX3344 .I23 2020
Paulin Ibanda Kabaka, Mémento du droit minier de la RD Congo: de la législation coloniale au code minier révisé de mars 2018 (Saint-Denis: Édilivre, 2020).

Lost access to Canada Commons and Policy Commons

Users are seeing a “Sorry, something went wrong trying to log you in.” error when trying to access Canada Commons or Policy Commons.

We are working to resolve the issue.

As a workaround please access via the Resource Pages –

New Books at Education Library: May 2024

Exciting new books have just landed at the library!

Click on the cover and title for more information:

LB1139.5.R43 L56 2022 Reading above the fray: reliable, research-based routines for developing decoding skills / Julia B. Lindsey; foreword by Nell K. Duke.


PZ7.1.O55 Ev 2023 Everyone’s thinking it / Aleema Omotoni.


PZ7.1.H4314 We 2023 We’ll never tell / Wendy Heard.


PZ7.1.O4425 Fu 2022 Funeral girl / Emma K. Ohland.


PZ7.1.F75478 Re 2023 The reunion / a novel by Kit Frick.