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# A History of Discrimination and Exclusion Through the mid- to late nineteenth century, some 15,000 labourers were brought from China to do construction work on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), though they were only paid a third or a half less than their co-workers Responding to anti-immigration sentiment in British Columbia, the federal parliament passed in 1885 the Chinese Immigration Act, which stipulated that all Chinese entering Canada must first pay a 50-dollar fee, later referred to as a head tax. This was amended in 1887, 1892, and 1901, with the fee increasing to its maximum of $500 in 1903. Between 1885 and 1923, the Government of Canada collect about 33 million dollars ($334 million in 2016 dollars), from about 97,000 Chinese headtax payers. The headtax system also had the effect of constraining Chinese immigration; it discouraged Chinese women and children from joining their men, so the Chinese community in Canada became a "bachelor society". # The Registry and the Digital Dataset Here is a picture of the original registry about a century ago: @[osf](pkr92) Thanks to two scholars, Peter Ward and Henry Yu, and their teams at the History Department of the University of British Columbia, the Register of Chinese Immigrants to Canada (1886-1949) has been transformed to a digital spreadsheet, openly accessible from <a href="">UBC Open Collection </a>, and a searchable database accessible from <a href=""> Library and Archives Canada </a>, is such an example. # Our Work and Why We Share Curious about to what extent this dataset has been utilized, we, two academic librarians, went on a journey of mining the data. We discovered a lot-- the difficulty with interpretation of the data due to lack of a codebook, the untapped potential of the data. We fixed the issues, uncovered patterns, and had fun-- all with a hacker's attitude. And then we wanted to share. We set up this OSF project to provide a one-stop platform for researchers and the public to access all of our work: converted dataset that allows for easy analysis, interpretation to key variables in the original dataset, R script, data visualizations, and analysis. Equally important, we are hoping to hear voices from a wider audience than just a few "peer reviewers". We welcome comments, improvements to the code and analysis, and even criticisms. We want you to be able to do all of these in a most fluid and least cumbersome way. # Driving Inquiries There are two inquires that have driven us to dig on the data: <br /> **To what extent the previous work of normalization of the immigrants' origins has been leveraged? <br /> What new possibilities for the study of early Chinese immigrants to Canada could this dataset offer if new DH tools are employed? <br />** We used R, a computational language for data cleaning and statistical analysis on the immigrants' wellbeing, and Palladio, a network analysis tool developed by Standford University, for studying migration patterns. To our amazement, not only did we find substantive untapped potential with the dataset, but also new promising research questions emerged from the deep engagement with the data. # Further Resources The project of normalization of origins led by UBC Asian Library: Preprint paper:
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