Collection snapshot: May 2022

Headshot of Elizabeth JohnstonElizabeth Johnston
Graduate Academic Assistant, UBC Library & UBC Learning Exchange
MLIS graduate, UBC iSchool

Welcome to our latest collection snapshot! These snapshots are designed to give you an idea of what kind of items have been added to the portal over the past few months, and are an opportunity for you to offer feedback on what you might like to see more of in the collection. You can find our previous snapshot from July 2021 here

Since July of last year, we’ve been busy adding items, especially works from accessible genres like podcasts, infographics, and summaries, and are very happy to report that we have just passed the 1,500 item mark…and this number is growing all the time! From May to June of this year, we added just over 100 items, and this wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work being produced by researchers and community organizations working in the DTES. 

In early April of 2022, we developed a DTES community organization publication pilot project with the goal of working with DTES community organizations to increase the number of community produced items in the collection. This allowed us to grow our less represented topic areas, particularly Art, Culture, History, and Heritage, as well as Labour, Income, and Social Services. By focusing on community publications, we have also been able to add significantly more items from different genres, like zines, podcasts, and infographics, rather than strictly academic articles. Stay tuned for an upcoming news post that will go into much more detail about the successes and lessons learned from this project!  

Figure label: Each bar represents a different genre and how many items have been added to that genre since July 2021. If a genre has either no items or no new items added, we have not included them in this graph.

Like our last snapshot, academic articles covering topics of Health and Wellbeing and Substance Use make up the most significant areas of growth. However, we are seeing a sizeable increase in community materials, like annual reports, strategic plans, and documentary films; as well as a growing trend within the academic community to produce more clear language summaries to go alongside their more scholarly articles. Our focused effort to include more underrepresented topics and a variety of genres is paying off, because the Art, Culture, History, and Heritage topic tag is now our third largest topic area! To see all the many different kinds of resources, research, and information available on the DTES RAP, and to learn more about each of the topics, categories, and genres of items, please visit the definitions tab of the help page. Or reach out to us and we will be happy to show you around!  

Figure Label: the bars represent the difference in category growth between July 2021 and May 2022.

The DTES RAP now has 16 topic tags to help you find the resources you might be looking for. As you will see, some topic areas include a lot more items than others, and we are working to not only grow these more underrepresented areas, but also better categorize and describe each item. This year, we added a new topic “Community-University Knowledge Exchange” and through the summer we will continue to revise and potentially add more topic tags to better represent our ever-expanding collection and make finding exactly the right resource even easier. If you have some ideas or suggestions for new topics you would like to see, or areas that you would like expanded, please let us know. 

Figure Label: The bars represent the difference in topic growth between July 2021 and May 2022

What brings us great joy, and inspires us to keep doing the work we’re doing, is that the majority of items in the DTES RAP collection are Open Access. This means that they are free to use either through UBC’s institutional repository, cIRcle, or via other online repositories and hosting sites. We also have a large number of freely accessible public items as well as restricted items which may charge a fee or require an institutional login in order to access them. If you would like to access a restricted item, please email our community engagement librarian, Nick Ubels, who will do his best to help you in your efforts! Additionally, if you are a researcher with a restricted access item in our collection and would like to make it open access, please contact us and we can help you through this process!  

Figure Label: Each bar represents the number of items in each access category: restricted, open, and public items (freely available online).

Not sure how to navigate the RAP? It might help to think of it like a description hierarchy. Each item within the RAP is assigned to: 

For example, a research article would fall under the ‘academic research’ category, the ‘scholarly article’ genre, and the ‘text’ type, and its’ broader topic could be on anything related to the DTES. When we aren’t sure how best to write the metadata, or the description of the work, we will reach out to the creator or contributor of the item to get their input. Doing it this way helps us to develop our connections with the wider community, builds a culture of collaboration, and works to facilitate knowledge exchange between community members, researchers, community organizations, students and more – after all, the DTES RAP is for everyone!  

We’re always looking for more items to include in the RAP, so if you know of an organization or researcher we should reach out to, have or know of an item, or have written something yourself, please contact us here to suggest it!  


Do you have questions or feedback about this article? Do you have an idea for the news section or suggestion for the collection? Please reach out to community engagement librarian Nick Ubels at