August 5th, 2017: The beginning

Today is the start of my final research project for my digital history class. The assignment is to do something digital history-like with a subset of the archived Shawville Equity files that have been scanned and made accessible on the internet.

I am going to use the papers from 1897-1902 (6 years) to see if there is an increase of French/English conflict in Canada from before and after the Second Boer War began in South Africa. Questions include whether there was a difference of opinion between the French and English about supporting the British troops in the war effort. This will be especially interesting because the Shawville Equity is an English paper within Quebec and will have an interesting take on the matter. I picked 6 years because it seemed like a reasonable spread to gauge public opinion or official reports of the war. I recognize that six years’ worth of data is not a large sample, but I hope that the change will be great enough to notice over the six years. I also made this decision practically because I do not have unlimited internet and did not want to download a decade’s worth of materials.

I modified commands from Module 2 to use as a base for downloading the Equity files I was looking for. I also used Ian Milligan’s tutorial on wget.

My original command returned errors because I made spelling and structural mistakes. Compare it to the correct form I arrived at after playing around with formats.

/jrn03/equity/src/1897/ -A .txt -r –no-parent -nd âw 2 –limit-rate=20k


wget -r –no-parent -w 2 –limit-rate=20k -A .txt


Having successfully downloaded the files, I began thinking about what I had to do to clean them up enough so that they were usable for extracting the data I wanted. At this point, my questions were focused on public sentiment about conscription and fighting with the British in the Second Boer War in South Africa.


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