This site seeks to provide transcripts of the original incoming and outgoing correspondence of the Colonial Office in London and the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. The transcripts are based on editorial and markup work by Dr. James E. Hendrickson, assisted by a large team of people. The transcripts were originally encoded in a now-obsolete script and have been algorithmically converted to XML code by Martin Holmes of the UVic HCMC. Additional editing and markup has been done by Pat Szpak, Kim Shortreed-Webb, and Gord Lyall, among others.

Although the original transcription work was proofed against the microfilm copy—and the British Columbia documents from 1858 against the originals in London—we cannot (yet) claim that the text on the site is a completely accurate transcription from the original handwritten texts, so readers may still wish to check the transcripts against the digitized images of the original handwritten texts. Many of the original documents, particularly viewed on microfilm, are difficult to read; they occasionally defeated the original transcribers, and have surely given rise to some errors. The subsequent processes of conversion and rendering will certainly have introduced more errors. If you intend to use the content on this site for serious research purposes, please ensure that you check the original microfilms to confirm the accuracy of the transcriptions. If you encounter any errors, please report them to mholmes@uvic.ca.

Documents from 1846 to 1864 have been brought closer to completion than any of the other years, so we are able to make these fully accessible, along with digitized copies of the microfilms from which many of them were transcribed. There are drafts of several hundred editorial footnotes, written by the original editor Dr. James Hendrickson; but many of these remain incomplete and fragmentary. Similarly, although we have supplied several hundred biographical sketches for people mentioned in the documents, along with information on places and seagoing vessels mentioned, and linked them into the texts, some of these are also incomplete.

Ultimately, we plan provide access to digital images from all of the microfilms available, and then proof and correct the transcriptions against them. During that process, we will enhance all of the documents with footnotes, biographies, abstracts and other helpful information, to make them more accessible to the general reader.

Martin Holmes
University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre