The History collection serves the needs of faculty and students in the History Department as well as a number of other departments across campus. These include the Medieval Studies, Science, Technology and Society Studies, International Studies, and Ethnic Studies programs.

Current areas of collecting

The history selector covers Canadian, Asian, European, British, British Imperial and Commonwealth, American and Latin American History, and political, diplomatic, economic, social and intellectual history. Special emphasis is on Canada, B.C. and the Prairie West, France (particularly the 18th century and through Napoleon), Germany, Eastern Europe, radical movements in Europe and North America, and the Pacific Rim (particularly China and Japan).

Research and publishing characteristics

History is considered a pure discipline with high volume and price ranging from low to high. There is considerable overlap with many other departments and programs. All types of publication are essential, with emphasis on foreign language and retrospective materials, original sources (archives, manuscripts, special collections), ephemera, newspapers, journals, conference proceedings, some popular materials, and visual materials of all kinds (photographs, films, works of art). Use of machine readable texts and data is increasing.


Predominantly in English, French, German, and Russian. Selective coverage in other Germanic, Romance and Slavic languages.

Geographic origin

Worldwide coverage.

Collections in other UBC Libraries/ Areas of overlap

Asian Library: Vernacular materials from South, Southeast and East Asia.

Koerner Library: Historical treatments of humanities and social sciences disciplines.

Special Collections: Manuscripts, private papers, archival materials and photographs on B.C. History, B.C. Labour History, NW Coast voyages and travels, ethnic groups in B.C. and historical maps (pre-1900 for North America and pre 1800 for the rest of the world), monographs on local history of B.C. and the Pacific Northwest, contemporary monographs on pre-Confederation Canadiana, and the University Archives, specializing in the history of the University of British Columbia.

Woodward: History of medicine and biomedical sciences.