Beware of the blind spot
“Parsing the humanities” (April issue) provided a nice
overview of digital humanities in Canada, but listing key
areas as “history, English, geography, music and other
disciplines” suggests a blind spot all too typical in English
Canada. There are numerous digital humanities projects
in French under way across this country, to say nothing of
projects in foreign languages that share with the discipline
of “English” a starting point in literary study. A few examples
are MARGOT, with texts and images from the Middle Ages
and Early Modern periods, initiated in 1989 at the University
of Waterloo; Le mariage sous l’Ancien Régime, based at the
University of Victoria; and the Toucher project (Textes, outils
et chercheurs en réseaux) housed at McGill University. Each of
these includes colleagues from institutions other than those
that house the projects, making for nationwide involvement.
Many colleagues in French studies and foreign language
studies are also participating in international DH initiatives.
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Dr. Carlin is professor of French at the University of Victoria.
Curriculum renewal is worth discussing
the overview of university initiatives attempt-
ing to respond to demands for greater program
accountability was clearly intended to present a
balanced picture of an emerging trend (“The
trend to measure learning outcomes gains some
proponents,” March issue). While it might have
been premature to note the absence of any evi-
dence to confirm the efficacy of the efforts
described in this regard, indicators of the band-
wagon phenomenon should have been men-
tioned. “How we did it” accounts of the anecdotal
variety are proliferating. Similarly, for a fee, such
newly acquired expertise is now readily available
to advise others on how to do it even better. That
the Educational Testing Service would host the
release of the reports of the American Gordon
Commission on the Future of Assessment in
Education should remove any doubts concern-
ing the influence of vested interests.
the letter from British General James Wolfe
Dr. Bonin is senior fellow in the faculty of public affairs and an
adjunct research professor in the school of public policy and
administration at Carleton University.
mentioned in the article “RCMP asks archivists
for help identifying cache of stolen artifacts”
(April issue) was not valued at $18,000. Another
Wolfe letter that went up for auction a number
of years ago went for that price.
Mr. Moosberger is the university archivist at Dalhousie University.
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