Author Archives: Ian Milligan

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 »

Wikipedia and Warriors: Quickly Exploring Canada’s Wikipedia Past, 2003-Present

By Ian Milligan The 2009 Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, laid out – in the eyes of a diverse group of Canadian academics – a new vision for Canada (too many links to list, but some are here). A redefinition of Canada based upon war and conflict, with the military assuming a prominent role and the First… Read more »

DIY Public History: Cataloguing the Past With Omeka

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By Ian Milligan Do you have a unique collection in your basement that you wish you could share with others? An amazing shrine to your favourite sports team? A unique mason jar collection? Some military memorabilia? What if you could take pictures, catalogue it, and suddenly have a website that’s the equal of many professional museum websites? You can do… Read more »

What Counts as History in Toronto? Digitally Exploring Toronto’s Heritage Plaques

By Ian Milligan When professional historians think of heritage plaques, some have knee-jerk reactions (“dead white man history!”) while others may see it as an engaging way to bring people into contact with the past in places they might otherwise not. On a leisurely stroll through the city, I enjoy checking out the few plaques that I pass: learning about… Read more »

Was the Past a Happy Place?

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By Ian Milligan Was the past a happy place? Could we take a large array of information and learn whether there was an emotional content to it? I’ve been increasingly curious about how we can apply a host of tools that data miners are using on contemporary information to large repositories of historical information: could we learn something new from… Read more »

The Smokescreen of ‘Modernization’ at Library and Archives Canada

By Ian Milligan The government claims that Library and Archives Canada needs to be modernized so all Canadians can access archival services. Yet the state of Canada’s online collections are small and sorely lacking when compared to their expansive on-site collections. LAC does need to modernize, and the goal of expanding access beyond just Ottawa is actually a laudable one. But what… Read more »

Illusionary Order: Cautionary Notes for Online Newspapers

By Ian Milligan Online digitized newspapers are great. If you have access (either through a free database or via a personal or library subscription), you can quickly find the information you need: a specific search for a last name might help you find ancestors, a search for a specific event can find historical context for it (i.e. the Christie Pits… Read more »

A Small Spark, a Big Flame: Two Wildcat Vignettes from the Summer of ’66

By Ian Milligan Today’s Air Canada wildcat strikes, which led to widespread delays and cancellations at Toronto’s Pearson and Montreal’s Dorval airports, surprised many Canadians. That it could all begin with a seemingly minor issue – the suspension of a number of workers who sarcastically applauded Labour Minister Lisa Raitt as she debarked from a flight last night – is, however,… Read more »

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Visualizing the Past

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I have recently been trying to figure out good ways of representing large amounts of historical information in a way that makes sense to everybody who might stumble across my work! I think that a good graphic has the ability to draw readers into what we do, letting us convey the scope, joy, or horror of history without needing to… Read more »