Covid played merry hell with our schedules, but we’re pleased to say ‘congratulations’ to our student RAs who have made it to the finish line in 2023!

Chantal Brousseau wrote Metadata in the Margins: Reshaping Archives as Data through Early Modern Marginalia . In this major research essay, Chantal rebuilds an open source image annotator for use by the International Space Station Archaeology project with a few modifications. Chantal then uses that tool to create a machine learning model for marginalia in manuscripts. Her case study then surfaced hundreds of examples of marginalia in materials made available by the National Library of Scotland. All of this work is situated in a history of the book and a feminist data science perspective. We are so excited to note that this MRE was nominated by the History Department for consideration for a Senate Medal!

Noah Chapman wrote a thesis called Engines of Agency and Affect: A Model for Interactive Histories (it will be available in our library repository in due course). Chapman develops a philosophical perspective drawing on a variety of sources (including Saidiya Hartman’s idea of ‘critical fabulation’, and Jeremiah McCall’s ‘historical problem space framework’) to create a vision for how historian developers might usefully approach video game design. He then puts this philosophy into action by creating a game design document for a game that explores the lot of the Freedman in ancient Roman society. Part of this game would also use the procedural building generator toolkit he developed called ‘DOMUS – The Digital Open Modular Urban System‘ , an asset pack for Blender to aid archaeological reconstructions.

Jonah Ellens wrote a major research essay called ‘Modelling the First World War on the Table’ which details the creation of a boardgame-as-simulation to express good history through a process of iteration and revision. He details the way board games foster a different kind of engagement with the past, drawing out issues of representation and mechanics. The essay also draws on Ellens’ experience as an intern at the Canadian Museum of History, drawing on that institution’s collection of ludic materials.

Finally, Callum McDermott wrote his major research essay that examined a problem he noticed as an intern at the Canadian Museum of Nature – not all of the collection related to the Canadian Arctic Expedition of the early 20th century was housed in the museum – parts had been dispersed to other national institutions. ‘Rebuilding the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-1918’ became Callum’s exploration of how various digital tools (and in particular, taking a knowledge graph approach using Neo4j) could virtually bring some of these materials back again into dialogue.


We were also pleased that some of the work co-authored with some of our gang made it through the publication pipeline before graduation

S. Graham, D. Yates, A. El-Roby, C. Brousseau, J. Ellens, and C. McDermott, “Relationship Prediction in a Knowledge Graph Embedding Model of the Illicit Antiquities Trade”, Advances in Archaeological Practice, 11.2: 126–138

Available: trade/9B802F4BEFEA325D3221E39BCE4F3A63