Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Worth noting: Canadian Mysteries

Do people do "interactive history"? The "Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History" website, one of the more successful web enterprises in the field of Canadian history, recently announced the launch of several new episodes. The additions complete its package of twelve interest-provoking problems in Canadian history. If there's an audience for history on the web, this should be one of the hits.

Canadian Mysteries launched in 1997, making it primordial in web history. It has continued to add new funders and new contributors, until half the universities and history departments in Canada seem to have a stake in it. Its mysteries range from the location of Vinland to the death of diplomat Herbert Norman. They cast a pretty wide net, in fact: exploration, slavery, First Nations, biography, immigration, social history, murder... And to my eye, the site is handsomely designed, cleverly conceived, and often well-written (though needing a little updating here and there, having been written in pieces over the years by many hands).

The project's reputation still seems -- judging by its "reviews" page-- inside the academy more than beyond, which seems too bad, given its pitch to younger readers and school classes. Worth a look.
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