Category Archives: Technology

The Presence of the Past: The Possibilities of Virtual Reality for History

Sean Kheraj For the past year, I’ve been thinking a lot about virtual reality and its potential applications for historians. Can we use virtual reality to better understand the past? Can the experience of virtual reality alter historical thinking? Can we now build time machines, teleporters, and holodecks using virtual reality? These questions may be overly optimistic or idealistic. I… Read more »

DNA And The Quest For Identity

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Stacey Devlin Whether or not family history interests you, it’s hard to escape the recent surge in advertising for genealogy-driven DNA tests, particularly the service offered by genealogy giant Ancestry. Ancestry has been heavily promoting this service through both online ads and television commercials, and it represents a fascinating development for family historians who can now use genetic information to… Read more »

“The water power of Niagara should be as free as the air:” The Past, Present, and Future, of Democratic Energy Control in Ontario

Christo Aivalis The politics of energy are omnipresent in historical and contemporary Canadian society. Who owns energy, how it is produced, and who benefits from its production and distribution has been central to the rise and fall of governments. In some cases, as with Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program (NEP), the regional tensions it inflamed are still evident to this… Read more »

A Historian’s Year with a Chromebook

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by Sean Kheraj Could a Chromebook satisfy the computing needs of a historian? Over the past twelve months, I’ve been using one to find out. Google’s low-cost, Web-based operating system, ChromeOS, is one of the most unique developments in computing in recent years. It is a lean computer operating system based almost entirely around the use of Web applications and… Read more »

Reports from New Directions in Active History: Digitising Childhood Evacuation: A Serendipitous Pursuit of Active History

By Claire L. Halstead As historians, we are increasingly under pressure to make our research “active” and relate to a public audience. This spurs us to discover new methods of engagement and innovative ways to present our findings. The digital revolution or “turn” has encouraged historians not only to use sources available online, but also to adopt digital tools and… Read more »

Digital Outreach and Wikipedia in the GLAM Sector

by Krista McCracken Discussion around the value of contributing to Wikipedia and its use as a resource has been occurring since the establishment of the collaboratively written encyclopedia in 2001. You don’t have to look very far to find someone decrying the crowdsourced material as rubbish or others proclaiming it as the best thing since sliced bread.  In between these… Read more »

Lab Partners: Experimenting with Active Learning

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(Editor’s note: this post first appeared in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives in April 2016) By Gabriel Pizzorno and Heidi Tworek One truism about World War I is the incompetence of German propaganda in the United States. The classic stories feature German officials forgetting briefcases with secret documents on the New York subway and ham-fistedly delivering speeches about German culture. But… Read more »

In Search of Digital Literacy in Canadian History Programs

By Stacey Devlin During the second half of my MA, my colleagues and I were tasked with preparing an exhibit about early-twentieth-century medicine. Not having a background in medical history, I began by downloading archived medical periodicals from Early Canadiana Online. I reasoned that if I could identify important conversations of the profession during the period of interest, I would… Read more »

Who Teaches Digital History in Canada?

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By Sean Kheraj Digital history is coming to York University in Fall 2016. That is to say, I finally got around to organizing and preparing to teach digital history. As I get ready to teach this course, I am surveying the landscape of digital history teaching in Canada, looking for ideas. Readers of this article, I hope, will help by… Read more »

The .tp country domain name, 1997-2015: In memoriam

By David Webster The internet deleted its first virtual country this month. It wasn’t that bad: Timor-Leste is now a real country, and doesn’t need its original internet domain name any longer. But the .tp top-level country domain name (ccTLD, in the lingo) has a story to tell as it ends its 18-year history. In 1997, the former Portuguese colony… Read more »