Under the Cover: Linking Books to the Lives of their Previous Owners (BookLives.ca)


How do you find a way to engage historians and genealogists with your collection? Give them what they are looking for… primary resources! We all have books in our collections with inscriptions, letters, bookplates and flattened objects inside. But what do we do with them? The Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island, has identified a number of in-house books with interesting ownership stories. Researching the connection between the book, as artifact, and its previous owner(s), the UPEI Library has created a VRE (Virtual Research Environment), www.BookLives.ca, for genealogists and historians. Learn about this new primary source (held within your own library stacks) and hear some of the stories of book lovers from the past.
Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize the book as an evolving artifact of history.
  • Understand why provenance (ownership history) is important.
  • Identify how to find, research, and document provenance within your collection.


Sarah E. Fisher

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