Week 1 January 7
Theme: Introducing Digital History. A History of Digital History, or, Where we are at the Current Moment.
This session will be devoted to getting things started. I’d like everyone to get their blogs set up, and to also install Zotero. ( We might set up your own private development server too on your machines.
Vannevar Bush, As We May Think, The Atlantic (1945)
Roy Rosenzweig, Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past in a Digital Era. American Historical Review 108.3 (2003): 735-762.
Stephen Ramsay, On Building (2011)
Going Digital, William Turkel
Designing your first project,
Managing your project,
Blog questions: Introduce yourself. Why are you in this class? What do you hope to get out of it? What has been your experience of ‘digital history’ to date? What has you nervous about the course? What is exciting about the course? Have you thought about a backup strategy? Do you use Dropbox? What about Zotero? How will you save and organize the digital materials you will encounter? How does this engage with your current approach to research and writing?

Week 2 January 14
Theme: Digitization beyond Scannning: What it means to represent physical objects in cyberspace
Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History. A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web.
Exploring the History Web
Tom Scheinfeldt, ‘Theory, Method, and Digital Humanities’ in Hacking the Academy
William Turkel ‘Hacking History, from Analog to Digital and Back Again’ Rethinking History 15.2 (March 2011) 287-296.
William Turkel, Devon Elliott, and Rob MacDougall ‘New Old Things: Fabrication, Physical Computing, and Experiment in Historical Practice’.

Smithsonian X3d (see especially the resources at, including the Lincoln death mask) – this is the system we will be using to craft our augmented reality.
123d catch (we’ll talk more about this in a few weeks, but you can install it on your iphone or use it on the desktop)
My first year class experiment with 3d modeling:
Sebastian Heath’s ‘Mapping 3d Models of Ancient Art’
Ways of sharing 3d models:
Cleaning up, exporting 3d models:
Some models you can play with: (download as zip, then navigate to the resources folder. Any zipped file in that folder contains all of the necessary parts of a 3d model.)
Blog questions:

Even better than the real thing? What are the potentials & perils for public history when we digitize physical objects? Download and install Meshlab. Open one of the FYSM1405a models and try to make alterations. Challenges? Check out the 3d printers in the Discovery Centre. How do you go about getting something printed?


Week 3 January 21
Theme: The Air Canada collection at the Canada Science & Technology Museum. Site visit.

Digital History in Action:
Natasha Baker, ‘Dinosaurs roar to life with museum’s augmented reality app’ Globe & Mail, July 16 2012
Explore these Museums & Technology Fund 2012-2013 recipients
NMC Horizon Report 2011 Museum Edition
Sally MacDonald & Jack Ashby Museums: Campus treasures. Nature 471, 164-165 (10 March 2011) doi:10.1038/471164a
Explore the QRator Project

Blog questions: What challenge do you foresee for Canadian museums in particular when it comes to the use of digital technology? Contrast the ROM approach to AR with the QRator project. Google for ‘AR’ and ‘museums’. What other projects do you find, and what lessons can we draw from them?


Week 4 January 28
Theme: Telling Stories: Narrative, Performance, and Digital Storytelling (Games!). We will also use this session to begin to workshop the narrative we want to develop, the themes to explore, using the collection we saw last week.
7 things you should know about… Digital Storytelling. Educause
Daniel Rosenbert, The Trouble with Timelines. Cabinet 13, 2004.
Roger Travis ‘Halo:Reach as epic’. Play the Past October 13 2010
Trevor Owens ‘No no no, that’s not the way it happened. Shall I start again?’ Play the Past July 24 2012
Digital History in Practice:
Rob MacDougall ‘Tecumseh’s Curse’ Play the Past May 29 2011
Rob MacDougall ‘This Is Not A Game’. Play the Past May 17 2011
Rob MacDougall, ‘Lies Here’. Play the Past
Liv Valmestad ‘Q(a)R(t) Code Public Art Project: A Convergence of Media and Mobile Technology’ Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 30.2 (2011) pp. 70-73.
Rosemary A. Joyce and Ruth E. Tringham Feminist Adventures in Hypertext Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory , Vol. 14, No. 3 (September, 2007), pp. 328-358

Explore Tapestry
Explore Tales of Things (search ‘Canada’)
Explore Twine’d Archaeology: …and play the games.

Blog Questions: In what ways does ‘reading’ a digital story involve a kind of shared authority? (For bonus, craft a ‘tapestry’ using Tapestry app to explore this). What kinds of stories might be possible with the Museum material?


Week 5 February 4
Theme: Heritage, Place, and Augmented Reality (Space-based locative computing)
Stuart Eve. Augmenting Phenomenology: Using Augmented Reality to Aid Archaeological Phenomenology in the Landscape. JAMT 19.4 (2012) pp. 582-600 DOI: 10.1007/s10816-012-9142-7
Carmelo Ardito et al. Re-experiencing History in Archaeological Parks by Playing a Mobile Augmented Reality Game. On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems 2007: OTM 2007 Workshops Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 4805, 2007, pp 357-366
Gregory Crane. Georeferencing in Historical Collections D-Lib Magazine 10.5 2004
Digital History in Action:
Shawn Graham & Stuart Eve. Historical Friction (this works best in Chrome, on a desktop. Make sure the sound is on).
Caldonazzo Castle – from ruins to archaeological 3d reconstruction
Projects & Apps:
Spatial Humanities
Cleveland Historical
ARIS – Mobile Learning Experiences
Tecumseh Lies Here

Blog Questions: Download and install 7scenes. Search for scenes set in Ottawa. (If you find Lovers’ Walk, that was a project of a previous HIST5702x). Explore, and reflect! How does this experience of space contrast with other ways of ‘annotating’ physical space? What are the advantages/disadvantages in terms of user experience? Explore the concept of neo-geography. How does this intersect with AR?


Week 6 February 11
Theme: Hands on with Photogrammetry.
David Crandall and Noah Snavely Networks of Photos, Landmarks, and People Leonardo , Vol. 44, No. 3 (2011), pp. 240-243
Robert Warden Towards a New Era of Cultural-Heritage Recording and Documentation APT Bulletin , Vol. 40, No. 3/4 (2009), pp. 5-10
Peter C. Dawson and Richard M. Levy A Three-Dimensional Model of a Thule Inuit Whale Bone House Journal of Field Archaeology , Vol. 30, No. 4 (Winter, 2005), pp. 443-455
123d Catch
Python Photogrammetry Toolbox (which we will install and explore, if you’ve got a Windows or Linux machine)
Explore other solutions from the list at
Blog Questions: Where is the labour in creating a 3d model? Read the terms and conditions of Augmentedev and Junaio ( Who owns the IP? Where are the dangers?

Before Feb 25th, there will be an out-of-class session at the museum for working with its archive, scanning vs photographing (which produce different results) of non 3d materials, with Prof. Opp (potentially). TBD. The archival materials are housed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Its library is open on Mondays and Tuesdays all day, and Thursday mornings.


Week 7 February 25
Theme: Modeling at the Museum (CSTM)
Readings:No readings! A break!

Blog questions: What strikes you about working with the artefacts in this way? What was problematic? What was exciting? What will you have to do in Meshlab to turn these models into usable assets for this project (explore the augmentedev documentation)? What is the epistemological value of a 3d digital model?


Week 8 March 4
Theme: Hands on in the Museum (CSTM) or the Museum Archive (Aviation), as necessary. You may also be using this time to work on the book aspect of this project.

Readings:No readings! A break!

Blog questions: No blogging! A break!


Week 9 March 11
Theme: New landscapes of publishing. Hands-on with our system for managing our assets, making our book.
Readings (most of these are blog posts):

State of the field:
Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Historians
Especially the section on ‘communication’
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Planned Obsolescence
Intro, section 2, section 3.
Shelia Cavanagh, Living in a Digital World: Rethinking Peer Review, Collaboration, and Open Access Journal of Digital Humanities 1.4 2012
Expanding Communities of Practice, Journal of Digital Humanities 2.2 2013
Jack Dougherty, Kristen Nawrotzki, Charlotte Rochez, and Timothy Burke. Conclusions: What we learned from Writing History in the Digital Age
The JDH & the Postcolonial Digital Humanities Affair:
Adeline Koh, ‘The Journal of Digital Humanities: Post-Publication Review or the Worst of Peer Review?’
Round up of the fall-out:
Scott Weingart ‘Improving the Journal of Digital Humanities’
Reflections on the JDH Editorial Process PressForward
Michael Widner, Towards a Front Page for the Digital Humanities #DHThis
Digital Humanities Now – just browse this.
Omeka: and
History Harvest
Pressbooks: (I will give you a login & password to explore this).

Blog questions: What lessons can we learn from the experience of the JDH, for public digital history? What would an ideal system look like for what we’re doing? Contrast the affordances & limitations of Omeka, Pressbooks, and Lulu.


Week 10 March 18
Theme: Data Mining & the Ethics of Big Data. Every digital object has the potential to be watching you as you watch it.
Theory (again, many of these are blog posts; one of them is a video).
Michael Widner, ‘The Digital Humanists’ (Lack of) Response to the Surveillance State’
Michael Widner ‘Digital Humanists’ Responses to Surveillance’
Shawn Graham, Ian Milligan, Scott Weingart ‘Putting Big Data to Good Use: An Overview’ The Macroscope
Tim Hitchcock ‘Big Data for Dead People: Digital Readings and the Conundrums of Positivism’ Historyonics Slides here:
Alan Crymble Big Data Meets Old History
Read any post by Ian Milligan:
Franco Moretti, “Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History,” New Left Review 24 (2003)
Daniel Cohen, “From Babel to Knowledge: Data Mining Large Digital Collections,” DLib Magazine 12/3 (2006)
See the sections ‘on topic modeling’ in The Macroscope; also explore
Blog questions:

Our book could be used to collect user data. Augmentedev is almost certainly watching which models/tracking images are being used. What could we or the museum do with that? What should we do with that? Would it be ethical?


Week 11 March 25
Theme: Troubleshooting on major project. What do we need to know/do?
Readings: TBD.

Blog questions: Post on whatever digital history topic that strikes you- or, ‘what have we neglected?’

Week 12 April 1
Theme: Troubleshooting redux if necessary; topic otherwise TBD.
Readings: TBD.

Blog questions: Your reflective short unessay should be posted this week. Format is optional; ‘essay’ just means, ‘to try’. A short video, a Twine, a Tapestry, a Prezi, a PPT, poem, text could be possible ways of doing this. If you have any concerns, speak with Dr. Graham.


Conclusion April 8
Theme: Presenting the finished book (or its prototype) to the museum.
No readings.
No blog questions.

One Comment

  1. Allison Smith

    Software algorithms: Academics need to look under the hood

    I want to comment on Tom Scheinfeldt’s article entitled “‘Theory, Method, and Digital Humanities’ in Hacking the Academy” (2013). He talks about the need to theorize digital history. One question I would ask to this end is about the impact of the underlying algorithms within the software on the results of digital history, and the fact that these algorithms are not generally known to, or understood by the users of the outputs. Put simplistically, if the tools involve inputs, algorithms and outputs, can the user of the outputs really know what they receive if they aren’t aware of the nature of the algorithms? Software developers need to work with academics to document they way software algorithms work so that the results of digital analysis can be properly assessed and understood.
    As the use of digital tools increases – and I believe it will – academics need to develop protocols for the use of these tools. As well as understanding the algorithms, we need to develop standard ways of capturing and documenting the ways that we use the tools. Like we do in a Chicago Style citation, we need to develop a standard for documenting the parameters involved in software use. For example, we need to record information like the name of the software and its version number. Perhaps even more importantly, we need to be clear about all the parameters used to produce our result so that that result can be duplicated. For text analysis, what corpus was used? Were there drop words? For other analyses, were there filters applied? Was there a date range? What search terms were used? Perhaps software packages will need to include features that allow the user to capture this kind of usage information so that duplication of analyses can be performed.
    I had a look at the Air Canada collection and it seems to include quite a few uniforms and work clothes. These will be quite interesting to exhibit, but they look a little lifeless in the present pictures: hanging droopily on hangers. A question for the people we meet at the Museum of Science and Technology next week will be about how fragile these uniforms are. Can they be worn by people? Put on manikins? Can we use Meshlab to modify the images so the clothes look more “filled out”? More alive? And if we do – to my earlier point – do we need to document what we did to the artefacts to make them come alive?

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