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HIS 222: Canadian History: Post-confederation: Digital History Project

Library Research Guide by Marlene Power

We have collected a number of resources to help you with your Digital History Project. Please contact us if some of the links do not work or if you know of additional resources that should be added.

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Using the McMaster University Library

Redeemer University students are permitted to use the McMaster University libraries in person. Redeemer students are classified as "Users from other Universities (non-OCUL) / Reciprocal Borrowers." This permits them to access and borrow print resources. Redeemer students are also permitted to apply for a Guest Internet Account that will allow them to use a McMaster University library computer in person (only) to access many of McMaster University library's electronic resources. See McMaster's list of Electronic Products Which Do NOT Permit Walk-in Users.

Digital History Assignment - Winter 2022

HIS 222 Winter 2022
Digital History Project

The goal of this project is to introduce some of the principles and practices of digital humanities to students. Digital humanities involves a group of convergent practices that enhance and expand the work of the humanities through the intersection of digital tools and technologies with humanities practices and pedagogies.[1] Digital history specifically addresses the question: How do research and writing about history CHANGE when there are millions of primary and secondary sources such as texts, photos, drawings, maps, artifacts, video and audio sources available through both academic and public digital spaces? Increasingly, historians have been using digital media, tools and technologies to evaluate, interpret, and present historical content.

My hope is that project will give students an opportunity to use digital technology to enhance meaning-making – that is, using technology to develop your own skills in critical thinking, doing, and communicating.


January 19: Introduction to Digital History, project overview

January 25: Sign up for groups and topics (in class)

February 2: Group work time (in class, approx. half of period)

February 7: Digital History Project Planning Sheet due

March 2: Group work time (in class)

March 14, 16: Presentations

March 21: Reflection on Digital History Project due


Groups will need to submit a completed project planning sheet on February 7. This will help groups to determine the shape and path of their project, and also allow me to provide feedback early in the process.


Each group needs to create an online exhibit, based on their chosen topic. This digital exhibit is meant for an audience of generalists (i.e. not experts in the field), and its purpose is to educate and inform the audience about both the history and current state of the topic. Exhibits are meant to be interesting and engaging, and they must address the following questions:

  1. What is the topic/issue? Why is this important in Canadian history? Why is this important in indigenous history?
  2. Who are the major players in this issue, both historically and in the current day?
  3. What has been the Canadian government’s perception and/or response to this issue?
  4. What has been the general public’s perception and/or response to this issue?
  5. What are the most important primary source materials (documents, photos, artifacts, audiovisual sources, etc.) related to this issue?
  6. What are the most important secondary source materials (books, journal articles, popular media articles) related to this issue? (another way to think about this question: what have/are other historians saying about this issue?)
  7. Where can the audience go to find out more about this issue?

Ultimately, your group needs to take the questions above into consideration when planning your exhibit, and the plan out your exhibit similarly to how you would plan an essay. You should develop a central research question for your exhibit, and the content and flow of your exhibit should “answer” this question (the thesis of your exhibit).

For example:

Question: Why do drinking water advisories still exist on First Nation reserves in 2022, and how long has this been a problem?

Answer/Thesis: Potable drinking water has been an issue on First Nation reserves for many decades, due to a lack of effective information and publicity about conditions, historical deficits in legislation governing the provision of drinking water in First Nations communities, and a fragmented construction industry.

Your exhibit should include:

  • An “About” page that clearly describes the purpose and parameters of your exhibit
  • Citations (footnotes) with embedded links where possible
  • Embedded multimedia sources (images, maps, audio files, video files, etc.)
  • One “extra” element that your group has created (see the list below for ideas)


This project is worth 25% of your final mark. Together, the Digital History Project Planning Sheet and the Digital History Project Reflection exercise make up 5%, with the remaining 20% based on the project itself. Please see the attached rubric for more details about evaluation.


Digital history is a fairly new field, and it is constantly changing. However, it is fascinating and exciting, and I want to give us all an opportunity to learn through experimentation. That being said, new technology can be difficult to learn, and this might be a very different type of project for you. THIS IS OKAY. I’m most interested in the experience, and the experiential learning that you will engage in while you’re working. I expect there to be some elements that don’t work out as planned, and some ideas you may need to drop, or pivot away from during your process. This is also okay. You will need to submit a short reflection to me the week after the projects are presented, and this will be your opportunity to share what went well, what your learned, and what you would do differently next time. I will take your reflection into consideration when assigning grades, and I’m MORE interested in seeing what you’ve learned than a perfect project.


[1] Cutrara, Samantha. Doing Digital Humanities and Social Sciences in Your Classroom. York University Libraries, 2019.



WordPress is a free, online website builder. If you choose to use this platform, some of the benefits will be. It’s fairly user-friendly, and is widely used by businesses. There is also lots of accessible online support, like this guide from Ryerson University


Scalar is a free, open source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write and publish scholarship online. There is an eBook that York University has created to guide people through using and creating with Scalar. Generally, it’s a fairly user friendly platform.

Google Sites

Google Sites isn’t as robust as Scalar, but it is free, quite easy to use, and integrates well with other Google products. If you choose to use another Google product for your “extra” element (i.e. a map) then this might be the best option.


Blogger is free and easy to use. It doesn’t have as much functionality as the other platforms, but it will display images and video, and can be used effectively to host your exhibit.

Example exhibits (made using these platforms)

Queen’s Refuge: Refugees and the University

Playin’ Mas, Play and Mas: A Pedagogical Journey of Children in Caribana by Denise Challenger

Looking Back: Temporal and Spatial Connections of Post-War Migration and Displacement Through the Eyes of the Toronto Telegram by Robyn LeLacheur

Macalester Summer 2020 Pedagogy Workshop (not an exhibit, but a good example of a Google Site)


Data Analysis/Visualization

Platforms: Voyant


Mapping Primary Sources

Platforms: Google My Maps, StoryMap, Neatline, VisualEyes

Examples: Visualizing Broadway, Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760-1761
Mapping Prejudice

Annotating a Video

Platform: VideoAnt

Examples: VideoAnt Welcome Video

Interactive Historical Timeline

Platforms: ChronoZoom, Prezi, Tiki-Toki, Timeline JS

Examples:  How Wine Colonized the World,

Create Infographics

Platforms: Piktochart, Canva,

Examples: Beyond the Book, Proud to Be Canadian, Historic Treaties and Treaty First Nations in Canada

Short Audio/Visual Content (create a podcast episode or short video)

Platforms: iMovie, Lightworks, VideoPad, , InShot, Audacity, Anchor, GarageBand

Examples: YouTube, Podcast App (should be easy to find examples!)


  1. Residential schools
    1. In the Maritimes
    2. In Quebec
    3. In Ontario
    4. In Manitoba
    5. In Saskatchewan
    6. In Alberta
    7. In British Columbia
    8. In the northern territories (NWT, Nunavut and Yukon)
  2. Indian Day Schools
  3. Drinking water advisories on reserves
    1. In Ontario
    2. In Manitoba
    3. In Saskatchewan
  4. Education (since closure of residential schools) in northern Ontario reserves
  5. The Indian Act
  6. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
  7. The White Paper/Red Paper of 1969
  8. High Arctic relocation
  9. Housing in remote indigenous reserves
  10. Housing in urban indigenous reserves
  11. The Numbered Treaties
  12. The Sixties Scoop
  13. Indigenous farming on the prairies


I’ve curated a list of websites that will provide many great primary and secondary sources for you to use in your research. Please start with reading Chelsea Vowel’s book “Indigenous Writes,” which is a great primer on these topics. It would also be advisable to check out her citations for more sources. After that, the Redeemer Library is a good resource, and you can also look at some of the links below:


Indigenous Services Canada
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs
Assembly of First Nations
Metis National Council



Ontario Teachers Federation: Useful Links for Indigenous Education
National Film Board: Indigenous Cinema in the Classroom
National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education
Teach for Canada

Residential School History

Historica Canada: Residential Schools podcast series
Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre
Truth and Reconcilation Commission of Canada
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation


Canadiana Heritage: Aboriginal History Collection
Library and Archives Canada: Indigenous Heritage Collection

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