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Who Are We and What Do We Do?

The Downtown Eastside Research Access Portal (DTES RAP) makes resources relevant to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) more accessible and easier to discover. We provide access to academic materials such as scholarly articles and theses, as well as community materials such as reports, historical newsletters and more accessible forms of scholarship such as clear research summaries, and more.

The DTES RAP was developed as part of the Making Research Accessible initiative (MRAi), a University of British Columbia (UBC) partnership between the UBC Learning Exchange and the UBC Library’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, with input from the UBC Office of Community Engagement, the UBC Knowledge Exchange Unit, UBC’s School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (iSchool), Simon Fraser University Library, and the Vancouver Public Library. It was built and tested in consultation with DTES community organizations and residents.

The MRAi was founded in 2015 in response to consultations with people living and working in Vancouver’s DTES who voiced a need to access high-quality research and information. These groups expressed concern with research projects that extracted information from people in the neighborhood and produced findings unavailable to residents. Members of community organizations also identified a need to preserve community-generated materials. With these concerns in mind, the DTES RAP was created to serve a broad audience: people and organizations who live and work in the DTES, researchers, students, and the general public.

What Are Our Goals?

  • To increase the accessibility and impact of research by providing easier online access to information about the DTES.
  • To identify community-generated materials (such as program reports, research and evaluation documents, and organizational histories) and increase their availability in and beyond the DTES.
  • To create opportunities for community organizations, community members, researchers, students, and others to share information and learn from one another.

Review the MRAi’s goals and guiding principles here to learn more.

How Do I Use this Portal?

This portal is a resource for you to learn about research related to the DTES.

This portal provides:

  • A search engine to find academic and community-generated materials about the DTES.
  • A directory of researchers to facilitate connections with researchers who are doing work in and about the DTES.
  • A list of some research projects that are happening or have happened in the DTES.
  • Resources about engaging in collaborative research partnerships, using research for the good of the public, and making research accessible.

People use this portal for:

  • Accessing research and community-generated materials about the DTES
  • Writing grants and reports
  • Connecting with researchers who are doing or have done work in the DTES
  • Supporting work with donors, students, new staff, volunteers, and people who want an introduction to research happening in the neighborhood
  • Identifying trends and gaps in research priorities in the DTES over time
  • Getting familiar with the language and style of research articles and reports
  • Answering questions about community-engaged research
  • Finding resources to make their research more accessible
  • Learning about ethical research practices and how research can create a positive change in communities.

What is on this Portal and Why?

The DTES RAP is continually identifying items relevant to the DTES and making them more accessible. The portal includes, but is not limited to, academic research articles, community publications, reports, research tools and guides, and historical documents. The DTES RAP prioritizes information about recent and ongoing academic research from UBC (2010 – present) and community-generated materials, and is updated on an ongoing basis.

UBC’s open access digital repository – cIRcle – provides the infrastructure and licensing expertise for the DTES RAP. Where possible and appropriate, the DTES RAP team works with creators to add items to cIRcle. Where not possible or appropriate, the DTES RAP provides links to external items. Some of these external items are freely available, while others are in publications that require paid subscriptions to access. If you would like access to one of these “restricted items” you can click the ‘Get help by email’ button on the right-side of the item page and the DTES RAP team will work with you to try to find an accessible copy.

How Do I Participate?

    • Suggest items to add to the DTES RAP if you have ideas about relevant materials and resources we could add to the portal.
    • Contact us at mrai.info@ubc.ca to get involved, ask questions, and find out more about making research about the DTES more accessible.
    • Join our listserve here.