Digital History Lab

What is the DH Lab? 

The Western Digital History lab is a space, but it’s really about the people who collaborate in it. Once a month faculty, graduate and undergraduate students engaged in digital research meet in Lawson Hall 2270B to report on goals, accomplishments, and challenges. Every week there is an Open Lab work date, when some of us come in and work on projects (alone or in collaboration) at the same time in the lab. This facilitates all kinds of interesting conversations, solutions, and camaraderie. Each semester we also hold one or two DH brown bag workshops for the whole department (past topics have included book scanning, using Zotero bibliographic software, learning QGIS, and overviews of other useful software like Evernote, DevonThink and Open Refine).

The relevance of this field is perhaps best expressed by Dr. Ian Milligan, associate professor at the University of Waterloo and former post-doctoral researcher at UWO. He stated, “Digital History is not a sub-field anymore, it is the way all historians will conduct research going forward, and it will be especially necessary for historians of the period after 1997, when the internet greatly expanded the production of archival content.” 


People

Faculty

Rob MacDougall

Alan MacEachern

Laurel Clark Shire

Mark Tovey (Adjunct)

William J. Turkel

 

Graduate Students

Deborah Allotey (Linguistics)

Nina Bozzo

Patrick Holland-Stergar

Carla Joubert

Michael O’Hagan

Mary Beth Start

Lu Wang

 

Alumni

Tim Compeau

Adam Crymble

Andrew Johnston (MA program, University of Victoria)

Tristan Johnson

Josh MacFadyen

Ian Milligan

Shez Muhammedi

Joel Ralph 


Recent DH Projects

Doors Open London - Richmond Row Stories

Components of Dr. Mark Tovey’s oral history project were made available through a Door Open exhibit in September 2018 in the Auditorium of the London Life Insurance Company Building. This exhibit featured four video and two audio stations featuring content from the oral history research next to large interpretive panels of historical photographs tied to the same locations as the audio and video. Most of these panels were newly created for this exhibit. Two live storytellers were also recruited, and as a backdrop, a slideshow of modern and historical photographs of Richmond Row played continuously on the large projection screen. This exhibit was attended by 321 people. Further information can be found at https://mediarelations.uwo.ca/2018/09/14/western-tells-richmond-row-stories-part-doors-open-london/


Events

Click here to see exciting events organized by the Digital History lab.


Equipment

Members of the DH Lab have access to Mac and Windows computers running a variety of software, including Mathematica, ArcGIS, Final Cut Pro and other packages for analyzing and manipulating texts, images, maps, audio, video, quantitative data and other kinds of sources. We have book, microfilm, microfiche, flatbed and sheet-feeding scanners for digitization. There are also cameras, audio recorders, a podcasting setup, … the list goes on. If you can imagine a digital history project, we probably have the equipment and experience to help you get started.


DH at Western

Western has been one of Canada’s leading centres for digital history since the early 2000s, receiving millions of dollars of external and internal funding for strategic knowledge mobilization, online databases, handheld and place-based computing, interactive exhibit design, application programming interfaces, augmented reality, desktop fabrication, text mining, machine learning, computer vision and a number of other techniques. Projects have focused on environmental, public, military, and economic history and on the histories of science and technology.


Research Assistance

Every year, one of our graduate students serves as the DH Lab RA. S/he plans our meetings, work dates, and workshops, and is available for consultation if you have a DH question. This year’s DH Lab RA is Carla Joubert!