Author Archives: Ian Milligan

Research is Getting a Bit More Open: Good News for Historical Research in Canada

By Ian Milligan When we started up ActiveHistory.ca way back in 2009 (!), we did it with a pretty simple vision in mind: historians were producing good scholarship, but it was inaccessible. It was inaccessible for a few reasons: sometimes we don’t exactly write for a general audience (we’ve been guilty of dropping jargon around this site too, I know,… Read more »

Accessing Treasure Troves of Data: Empowering your own Research

By Ian Milligan This post is a bit technical. My goal is to explain technical concepts related to digital history so people can save time and not have to rely on experts. The worst thing that could happen to digital history is for knowledge to consolidate among a handful of experts. From the holdings of Library and Archives Canada, to… Read more »

The Future of the Library in the Digital Age? Worrying about Preserving our Knowledge

By Ian Milligan Yesterday afternoon, in the atrium of the University of Waterloo’s Stratford Campus, a packed room forewent what was likely the last nice weekend of summer to join Peter Mansbridge and guests for a discussion around “What’s the future of the library in the age of Google?” It was aired on CBC’s Cross Country Checkup on CBC Radio… Read more »

Three Tools for the Web-Savvy Historian: Memento, Zotero, and WebCite

By Ian Milligan “Sorry, the page you were looking for is no longer available.” In everyday web browsing, a frustration. In recreating or retracing the steps of a scholarly paper, it’s a potential nightmare. Luckily, three tools exist that users should be using to properly cite, store, and retrieve web information – before it’s too late and the material is… Read more »

Preserving History as it Happens: The Internet Archive and the Crimean Crisis

By Ian Milligan “Thirty goons break into your office and confiscate your computers, your hard drives, your files.. and with them, a big chunk of your institutional memory. Who you gonna call?” These were the words Bob Garfield used in a recent episode of On the Media, to address the storming of the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism. On Saturday, March… Read more »

Why Canada’s Open Data Initiative Matters to Historians

By Ian Milligan This post originally appeared on ianmilligan.ca. OK, you’re all forgiven: when you hear ‘open data,’ the first thing that springs to mind probably isn’t a historian (to some historians, it’s the first episode of the BBC show ‘Yes, Minister’). In general, you’d be right: most open data releases tend to do with scientific, technical, statistical, or other… Read more »

The Internet Archive Rocks, or, Two Million Plus Free Sources to Explore

By Ian Milligan For many students, it’s back to school season. For me, that means it is time to think about some of the resources and tools that are out there. If you want to research a topic, it’s worth keeping in mind some great repositories online. The big one online is the Internet Archive – which is not just old websites…. Read more »

In a Rush to Modernize, MySpace Destroyed More History

By Ian Milligan In 1963, despite community opposition, New York City’s Pennsylvania Station was torn down. It was an age of modernism, old being wiped away for new. Afterwards, some of the sails went out of that movement: there was renewed interest in architectural preservation, added hesitation when it came to the wholesale destruction of our past. Last week, a… Read more »

Yahoo! Commits Crimes against History – A Call to Wake Up!

By Ian Milligan (previously posted in two parts on ianmilligan.ca) Yahoo! succeeded in destroying the most amount of history in the shortest amount of time, certainly on purpose, in known memory. Millions of files, user accounts, all gone. – Archive.Org (click through for the GeoCities archive) As if it was a bad April Fools joke, April 1st 2013 saw the end… Read more »

Exploring the Old Canadian Internet: Spelunking in the Internet Archive

By Ian Milligan If you do recent history, you run into problems pretty quickly with archives. Chronic underfunding means that many recent acquisitions sit, awaiting cataloguing. Donor restrictions are often still in place, and – probably most importantly – much of this material is still not archived as it isn’t always thought of as history yet! If you aren’t part… Read more »