Ian Milligan is a digital and Canadian historian. He’s currently exploring how historians can fruitfully use web archives and other large digital repositories.
Traditionally historians had to scrounge for any information they could find and now, information is being preserved that never would’ve been in the past – this produces an overload of sources. This fundamental shift creates many barriers and historians have largely been left out of the big data discussion. This grant makes it possible for my research team to change that – to bring historians into the big data discussion, break down barriers to access web archives, and provide tools to enable all historians to revolutionize their own work.
He is principal investigator of the Web Archives for Historical Research group, which is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and Compute Canada.
A digital historian, Ian has been nominated for leading awards by both the Canadian Historical Association and the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities. In 2016, he was awarded the Outstanding Early Career Award by the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities, and in 2015 he was nominated for the John A. Macdonald Prize in Canadian History by the Canadian Historical Association.
Ian also works in the area of postwar Canadian youth and labour history, which he continues to publish in. His first book, Rebel Youth: 1960s Labour Unrest, Young Workers, and New Leftists in English Canada, was published in 2014 by the University of British Columbia Press.
Ian’s second peer-reviewed book, Exploring Big Historical Data: The Historian’s Macroscope, a handbook aimed at demystifying digital methods, appeared in late 2015 with Imperial College Press. He wrote this with Shawn Graham (Carleton) and Scott Weingart (Carnegie Mellon). You can read our post-peer reviewed but pre-proofed (post-print) online!
Currently, Ian has taken on a number of editorial responsibilities. He is the co-editor of the in-preparation Sage Handbook of Web History (SAGE, projected to appear in 2018) and of the online Programming Historian textbook.
Ian has an extensive record of service at the national and international level, serving as a member on Library and Archives Canada's Acquisitions Advisory Committee, sits in the Ontario Library Research Cloud (OLRC) Digital Scholarship Advisory Committee, and serves as co-Program Chair for the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (Toronto, 2017). Finally, he was PI on a SSHRC-supported hackathon entitled Archives Unleashed, held at the University of Toronto in March 2016. Follow-up events have occurred at the Library of Congress, and are scheduled for San Francisco, CA and London, England.
Ian regularly blogs at http://ianmilligan.ca/ and tweets professionally at @ianmilligan1. He’s always happy to work with potential graduate students interested in postwar Canadian history, digital history, and digital methodologies. Ian has additional funding for interested MA and PhD students.
- B.A. (Hons) Canadian History, Queen's University, 2006
- M.A. Canadian History, York University, 2007
- PhD Canadian History, York University, 2012
Research and teaching interests
- Social Movements
Milligan teaches courses in postwar Canadian history, historical methodologies, youth and childhood history, as well as digital methodologies more generally. The teaching approach differs based on the course! Sometimes a mixture of lecture and small group discussions grapple with difficult material, in other courses small-format discussions help to move through both primary and secondary readings fruitfully, and in digital classes students do a good amount of hands-on work with new tools and software.
- HIST 109 Ten Days That Shook the World
- HIST 250 The Art and Craft of History
- HIST 255 History of Childhood and Youth in Canada
- HIST 303 Digital History
- HIST 388 Modern Canada
- HIST 403A/403B Canadian Seminars
- HIST 602 Canadian History II
Key Areas of Graduate Supervision
- Postwar Canada
- Digital history
- Historical methodologies
- Internet/Web history
Milligan’s current projects largely involve how historians can deal with the sheer quantities of digital data that are profoundly reworking how we research, teach, and write. He has published work on web archives in the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association (which won their 2013 Best Article award), the International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, Digital Studies, code4lib, and in the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries. An additional research project explores the nature of online databases and born-digital sources more generally, which Milligan has published in the Canadian Historical Review. An article in Social History/Histoire Sociale applies digital methods to our understanding of children and early Internet regulation in Canada.
In addition to publications, Ian is working on portals to access web archives through the Web Archives for Longitudinal Knowledge (WALK) project. An early prototype can be found at http://webarchives.ca.
Shawn Graham, Ian Milligan, and Scott Weingart, Exploring Big Historical Data: The Historian’s Macroscope. London: Imperial College Press, 2015.
Rebel Youth: 1960s Labour Unrest, Young Workers, and New Leftists in English Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2014. [shortlisted for the 2015 John A Macdonald Prize]
Nick Ruest and Ian Milligan, “An Open-Source Strategy for Documenting Events: The Case Study of the 42nd Canadian Federal Election on Twitter,” Code4Lib Journal, Issue 32, April 2016.
Ian Milligan, Nick Ruest, and Anna St-Onge, “The Great WARC Adventure : Using SIPS, AIPS and DIPS to document SLAPPs,” Digital Studies / Le champ numérique, Vol. 6, 2016.
“Lost in the Infinite Archive: The Promise and Pitfalls of Web Archives,” International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, Vol. 10, No. 1-2 (2016): 78-94.
A Haven for Perverts, Criminals, and Goons: Children and the Battle for and Against Canadian Internet Regulation, 1991-1999,” Histoire Sociale/Social History, 47. No. 96 (May 2015): 245-274.
"Illusionary Order: Online Databases, Optical Character Recognition, and Canadian History, 1997-2010,” Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 94, No. 4 (December 2013): 540-569.
Mining the Internet Graveyard: Rethinking the Historians’ Toolkit,”Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, Vol. 23, No 2 (2012, published in 2013): 21-64. [Winner of the 2013 JCHA Best Article Prize.]
“Coming off the Mountain: Forging an Outward Looking New Left at Simon Fraser University,” BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly, Vol. 171 (Autumn 2011): 69-91.
“‘This Board Has a Duty to Intervene,’ Challenging the Spadina Expressway Through the Ontario Municipal Board, 1963-1971,” Urban History Review/Revue d’histoire urbaine, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Spring 2011): 25-37.
“‘The Force of All Our Numbers:’ New Leftists, Labour, and the 1973 Artistic Woodwork Strike,” Labour/Le Travail, 66 (Fall 2010): 37-71.
“Sedition in Wartime Ontario: The Trials and Imprisonment of Isaac Bainbridge, 1917-1918,” Ontario History, Vol. 100, No. 2 (Autumn 2008): 150-177.
Peer-Reviewed Computer Science Conferences
Ian Milligan, Nick Ruest, and Jimmy Lin, “Content Selection and Curation for Web Archiving: The Gatekeepers vs. the Masses,” Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, Vol. 16 (2016): 107-110.
Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Lin, Ian Milligan, and Nick Ruest, “Desiderata for Exploratory Search Interfaces to Web Archives in Support of Scholarly Activities,” Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, Vol. 16 (2016): 103-106.
Peer-Reviewed Technical Contributions
Ian Milligan and James Baker, “Introduction to the Bash Command Line,” The Programming Historian, September 2014. Available online.http://programminghistorian.org/lessons/intro-to-bash
James Baker and Ian Milligan, “Counting and Mining Research Data with Unix,” The Programming Historian, September 2014. Available online. http://programminghistorian.org/lessons/research-data-with-unix
Shawn Graham, Scott Weingart, and Ian Milligan, “Getting Started with Topic Modeling and MALLET,” The Programming Historian 2, September 2012. Available online.http://programminghistorian.org/lessons/topic-modeling-and-mallet.
“Automated Downloading with Wget,” The Programming Historian 2, August 2012. Available online.http://programminghistorian.org/lessons/automated-downloading-with-wget.
Milligan has also written professional contributions or book/web/software reviews for the Canadian Parliamentary Review, Perspectives on History, the Literary Review of Canada, the Canadian Historical Association Bulletin, Nature, Oral History Forum, Labor History, the Canadian Historical Review, Labour/Le Travail, the Journal of Digital Humanities, and Histoire Sociale/Social History. He has presented at numerous international conferences and workshops.
Ian's work has appeared in the media, including CBC's The Current and Spark.
For a full CV, see http://ianmilligan.ca/cv.
Awards and achievements
- Outstanding Early Career Award, Canadian Society for Digital Humanities, 2016.
- Compute Canada Research Portals and Partnerships Grant, 2016 - 18. (Principal Investigator)
- SSHRC Connection Grant, 2016. (Principal Investigator)
- SSHRC Insight Grant, 2015-20. (Principal Investigator)
- Ontario Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, 2015-2020.
- Shortlisted for John A. Macdonald Prize, Canadian Historical Association, 2015.
- University of Waterloo Outstanding Performance Award, 2014.
- SSHRC Insight Development Grant, 2013-15. (Principal Investigator)
- SSHRC/UW Seed Grant, 2013-15.
- Journal of the Canadian Historical Association Best Article Award, 2013
- SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012-14 (declined August 2012 onwards)
- American Historical Association (member)
- Association for Canadian Computers and the Humanities (member)
- Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing (member)
- Canadian Society for Digital Humanities (member)