Big Data and History

Ian Milligan Talks to Acadia about Big Data and its Role in the Future of History

On Friday November 28, historians, librarians, computer scientists, and community members all showed up to listen to Ian Miligan talk about his perspective on the changing role of the historian profession. Ian Milligan is an assistant professor of digital and Canadian history at the University of Waterloo, working on how historians can engage with web archives. 

Ian believes that if historians do not participate in the collection and documentation of digital archives, someone else will. Part of his mission is to help educate historians on the importance of becoming comfortable with the basic understanding of how to work with digital databases and simple programming tools. Ian noted that there are many handy free tools out there for historians to access that can automate many of the tedious processes of a historian. He does note and understand how scary the word "change" can be for historians, but encourages people in this area to be progressive and give it a go.



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