The Midden, Reborn

Cover, Volume 1, Number 1 (Nov. 1968) of the ASBC newsletter, soon to become The Midden.

Cover, Volume 1, Number 1 (Nov. 1968) of the ASBC newsletter, soon to become The Midden.

As many readers will know, The Midden is the newsletter and journal of the Archaeological Society of B.C. The ASBC has fallen on some hard times in recent years with the Nanaimo Branch and the Vancouver Executive Branch both falling by the wayside. Luckily, the Victoria Branch, in recent years largely run by Graduate Students out of the Archaeology Lab at the University of Victoria, has retained its vitality and, after a hiatus and some thin issues, has recently started producing The Midden in its full glory again.

Even better news, the entire back run of The Midden since its first issue in 1968 is now available open access and online, with the exception that the most recent six months will be available to members only. It is to the enormous credit of the Victoria Group, who I have occasionally observed in their toils from faraway perch in Blog World Headquarters, that the ASBC and The Midden continue to express the vision of its founders over fifty years ago. The core group of the Victoria ASBC in recent years has including longtime members Pete Dady, Tom Bown and the late Gerry Merner, and more recently (and spearheading the digitization project) Jacob Earnshaw, Nicole Westre, Cal Abbott, Seonaid Duffield, and Colton Vogelaar (recent UVIC grads), and Genevieve Hill of the RBCM. Thanks also to the UVIC Library for hosting the journal. (If I’ve forgotten someone then apologies, and I will add them, just let me know). The ASBC has always been run by volunteers and has played a huge role in public education and promotion of archaeology in the Northwest, so the long-standing members and volunteers should also be thanked – of particular note perhaps, long-standing editor in the 1980s and 1990s, Kathryn Bernick.

Cover of The Midden 2017, Vol 47, No 2.

Cover of The Midden 2017, Vol 47, No 2.

Being online, the Midden can now include full colour illustrations, as seen to advantage in two recent volumes devoted to Culturally Modified Trees (1, 2).

At the UVIC site, you can sort by author and by issue, and there is a search (and advanced search) which seem to me to be a little hit and miss.  Some issues can be downloaded article by article, but most come as a single PDF, typically of 10-20 megs. I find it helps a lot to have a browser or browser extension which shows the PDF prior to downloading. The text is searchable, though of course in the earlier issues the OCR is imperfect.

Anyway, the only point of this blog post is to spread the word that The Midden is going strong, thank the brain-trust, and to suggest people consider join the ASBC (now payable online) for the very modest annual membership fee (25$ / 18$ for students) which keeps the society going.  Even better: archaeologists and kin, submit an article for publication!

You can also keep up with the ASBC on their Facebook page, where events are also posted, such as next week’s (Sept 18) talk in Victoria (UVIC) on World War 1 archaeology by Paul Ferguson.  Who knows, maybe the Society will spread back to Nanaimo, Vancouver, or on to Prince George, Kelowna or even Spuzzum.

First appearance of the name "The Midden". Further down it notes: In fact, some considerble thought went into choosing this name, though at first it may seem derisory. The excecutive met in solemn debate on at "Least three occasions. And in case you don't believe it, here are some of the serious and not-so-serious sugges- tions put forward before "The MIDDEN" won by an overuhelming vote: The Pit Report, The Keekwillie, The Katz Spaul (say it fast!) , Strata Data., The Artifact, Detritus, The Level Bag (there was a long pause after that), The Cuitural Layer (and all that), Want Adze (boo, hiss). But The MIDDEN covers all of them!

First appearance of the name “The Midden”. Further down it notes: In fact, some considerable thought went into choosing this name, though at first it may seem derisory. The executive met in solemn debate on at “Least three occasions. And in case you don’t believe it, here are some of the serious and not-so-serious suggestions put forward before “The MIDDEN” won by an overwhelming vote: The Pit Report, The Keekwillie, The Katz Spaul (say it fast!) , Strata Data., The Artifact, Detritus, The Level Bag (there was a long pause after that), The Cultural Layer (and all that), Want Adze (boo, hiss). But The MIDDEN covers all of them!”

 

 

3 responses to “The Midden, Reborn

  1. I must be missing something. I tried to locate an article on the discovery of petroglyphs on Gabriola Island (DgRw192) ca. 1975-76 to no avail. Then to test the search function I tried to locate an article I co-authored (with Quentin Mackie) in April 1985, also with no results. What am I doing wrong?

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    • And, as an afterthought to my previous comment, I wonder if some issues are blacklisted from search because they may contain specific information about extra-sensitive material such as human burials or rock art. This would be unsurprising given current standards in digitization projects.

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  2. Hi Dan, huh, no you are right. The UVIC search function only returns partial results. Testing it on common words like “archaeology” I don’t see any returns for earlier than about the early 2000s

    If you want, you can do a site specific search on google. Paste “Leen site:journals.uvic.ca” (no quotes) into google and it will return a bunch of Midden articles mentioning you, for example this one:

    https://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/midden/article/viewFile/16841/7166

    (there are other journals at that site, so to only search the midden you can try

    “Leen site:https://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/midden/

    However, I could only indirectly find our rock art piece: search found an index in the Midden which gave me the issue number, then I browsed to that issue. So here:

    https://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/midden/article/view/15928/6745
    I have no idea why UVIC has this blind spot. However, I note the older issues are a single document, and the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) gets worse as you go older, probably especially when one gets to scanned documents vs. ones that have digital versions still extant.

    The list of authors is also clearly derived from the OCR since you don’t show up there either (and assumedly neither do a lot of other people — it’s not a plot I don’t think).

    Anyway, it’s clearly imperfect but the google search seems to be much more complete and the browse by issues feature seems to work well.

    If one of the Midden digitizing team reads this maybe they can fill us in on any vicissitudes…

    Good to hear from you, hope you are well.

    Q

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