Category Archives: Academic Culture

Contextualizing a Scandal: A Brief History of Library and Archives Canada

Greer positions the absence of context, connections between collections, and supports that reflect the nuance of archival research as LAC being “determined to hide the results of their past efforts from the eyes of researchers”. In actuality, what is unfolding is a predictable outcome of an impossible situation and the absence of an adequate number of trained professionals to provide anything better.

LAC’s Vision: What Future for the Past

      No Comments on LAC’s Vision: What Future for the Past

In fairness to LAC, I recognize that their problems are rooted in chronic underfunding.  That and a succession of governments measuring their success with inappropriate metrics.  While wishing that management had made different choices under the pressure of inadequate financing, I also wish they were not forced to choose between outreach and basic archival services.

Feminism and its Malcontents in Canadian Universities

Black-and-white photograph of several women in a library, looking for books on the shelves and working at tables.

Sara Wilmshurst First off, I’d like to bless the Internet Archive for preserving human folly. The paper under review today has been scrubbed from its original home but lives on in infamy through the Wayback Machine. I am speaking of “On the Challenges of Dating and Marriage in the New Generations,” published under the name of Benyamin Gohjogh. It made… Read more »

The Dawn of Tomorrow was a “First” Almost Forgotten By History

It was only after winning the prize that I fully grasped that I had pushed The Dawn out of the shadows of history, and into the forefront of discussions about Black Canadian newspapers, Black contributions to Canadian history, and Canada’s media history. I had awoken an entire field that I didn’t even know existed.

Did ChatGPT-4 attend my lecture?

      No Comments on Did ChatGPT-4 attend my lecture?

Jim Clifford In the lead-up to my take-home exam last April, I was trying to think of questions ChatGPT could not answer. I hoped that by focusing on details from my lectures that are not available on Wikipedia and other similar online sources, the large language model would fail to provide a strong answer. I was dead wrong:

Today’s AI, Tomorrow’s History: Doing History in the Age of ChatGPT

AI generated image of a blue faced human

You have probably heard about OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing Chat or Google’s Bard. They are all based on Large Language Model (LLM) architectures that produce human-like text from user prompts. LLMs are not new, but they seem to have recently crossed a virtual threshold. Suddenly, artificial intelligence—or AI for short—is everywhere. While it is true that they sometimes “hallucinate,” producing factual errors and quirky responses, the accuracy and reliability of LLMs is improving exponentially. There is no escaping it: generative AI like ChatGPT is the future of information processing and analysis, and it will change the teaching and practice of history. Although some of its effects can be felt already, its long-term implications are not as clear.

Harvard and Slavery: The Moral Responsibility of History

By Andrew Nurse On April 26, 2022, Harvard University announced “that it will spend $100 million” as part of a plan to address what it’s president called “profoundly immoral” practices in the university’s past.[1] At issue is Harvard’s relationship to slavery, racism and colonialism. Harvard is not the first university to grapple with a deeply problematic past, but its response… Read more »