Tag Archives: Digital History

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 »

Introducing the History Slam Podcast: First Episode

http://activehistory.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/History-Slam-Premier-Edition.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadBy Sean Graham Subscribe to the podcast (iTunes coming soon). As someone who studies the history of radio, it is a little embarrassing to admit that I spend just as much time listening to podcasts as I do the radio. For me, the ability to listen when I want, where I want, and on… 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 »

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 »

Revisiting Past Places: Google’s ‘Memories for the Future’ Project in Japan

Next month will mark one year since the people of Japan experienced a devastating series of natural disasters. The earthquake and tsunami that hit parts of Japan on March 11, 2011, resulted in tremendous loss for the Japanese people. Many Japanese lost their lives while survivors lost homes, a sense of stability, and sense of place. Personal items and familiar… Read more »

Too Much Information: The Case for the Programming Historian

Depending on your vantage point, we have a looming opportunity – or a looming problem. Historical digital sources have reached a scale where they defy conventional analysis and now call out for computational analysis. The Internet Archive alone has 2.9 million texts, there are 2.6 million pages of historical newspapers archived at the Chronicling America site of the US Library… Read more »

Connecting Past, Present and Future: A Website Review of Stacey Zembrycki’s “Sharing Authority With Baba”

Internet sources can present challenges in the university classroom, but they also offer many new, exciting, creative learning opportunities. Rather than barring internet sources altogether, we should be teaching our students to engage critically with a range of sources, including the many great digital projects available online. One such example is Stacey Zembrycki’s website, “Sharing Authority With Baba: A Collaborative… Read more »

“Universal Access to All Knowledge”: The Internet Archive, Google Books, and the Haithi Trust.

In this post, Ian Milligan introduces people to the Internet Archive, the Haithi Trust, and Google Books. Why should we have to travel to archival repositories, especially if they’re in an already convenient form like microfilm? Shouldn’t everybody have access to information, not just the select few who happen to have institutional affiliations? When it comes to access to information, we should be on an even playing field. Lay people interested in history, undergraduates, cash-strapped professional researchers, and all can benefit from several internet resources that put an incredible amount of information at your finger tips.

A Journey Through Inuit Oral Traditions: Website Review of Listening to Our Past

Listening to Our Past explores the rich cultural heritage of the people of Nunavut.  The website was created by Nunavut Arctic College and l’Association des francophones du Nunavut.  The site aims to present history recorded though oral traditions and oral histories told by Nunavut elders.  The site is tri-lingual and material is available in English, French, and Inuktitut. When first… Read more »

The Rise and Fall of Ideas: Having fun with Google N-Grams

We need to make sense of large quantities of information in order to do ‘big history’ and provide a context into which we can write our smaller studies. In this post, I’ll tell you what an ngram is, show some cool pictures, and hopefully drive you to have some fun with this.