The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, 1846-1871
Reminiscent of the large-scale documentary editions of Presidential papers published in the United States, The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island British Columbia, 1846-1871 was formally launched on November 3, 02008 by the University of Victoria in a former Supreme Court of British Columbia courtroom in the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. I was privileged to have been invited. The Web site carries on and expands upon the work of University of Victoria emeritus professor James Hendrickson who began the monumental task of transcribing all the outgoing and incoming letters (despatches) between the British Colonial Office in London and the colonial governments of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. The initial set of XML-based transcriptions, migrated from an older machine-readable format called Waterloo Script, covers the seminal year of 1858 when the colony of British Columbia was established in response to the Fraser River Gold Rush. The site is still under construction and one important aspect of the despatches, the attachments (usually maps), have yet to be digitized and added. The Colonial Despatches site is a model project in many ways and my hope is that we will see many other examples of its kind in Canada.