Archive for 2008

CHNM wins $50,000 Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

CHNM has received a $50,000 Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC) for Omeka, a software project that greatly simplifies the online publication of collections and exhibits. The award was given at the Coalition for Networked Information meeting Dec. 8 in Washington, D.C.

MATC awards recognize not-for-profit organizations that are making substantial contributions of their own resources toward the development of open source software and the fostering of collaborative communities to sustain open source development.

Omeka is a free and open source web publishing platform for scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, educators and cultural enthusiasts. Its “five-minute setup” makes launching an online exhibition as easy as launching a blog. Omeka is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content and interpretation rather than programming. It brings Web 2.0 technologies and approaches to academic and cultural web sites to foster user interaction and participation. It makes top-shelf design easy with a simple and flexible templating system. Its robust open-source developer and user communities underwrite Omeka’s stability and sustainability.

“Until now, scholars and cultural heritage professionals looking to publish collections-based research and online exhibitions required either extensive technical skills or considerable funding for outside vendors,” said Tom Scheinfeldt, project co-lead and managing director of CHNM. “By making standards-based, serious online publishing easy, Omeka puts the power and reach of the web in the hands of academics and cultural professionals themselves.”

Scheinfeldt accepted the award from Vinton Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, who chaired the blue-ribbon prize committee. The committee also included Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web; John Gage, chief researcher and director of the Science Office at Sun Microsystems, Inc.; Mitchell Baker, CEO of the Mozilla Corporation; Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media; John Seely Brown, former chief scientist at Xerox Corp.; Ira Fuchs, vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and Donald J. Waters, program officer in the Program in Scholarly Communication at the Mellon Foundation.

Children and Youth in History Site Launches

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, together with the University of Missouri–Kansas City, is pleased to announce the launch of a new website focusing on notions of childhood and the experiences of children and youth throughout history and around the world.

The site, Children and Youth in History (http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh), offers history instructors and students access to hundreds of primary sources and a variety of resources for teachers at both the high school and college level.

As with all CHNM projects, the resources contained in Children and Youth in History are and will remain free and open access.

Funding for Children and Youth in History was made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

George Mason’s Center for History & New Media, Emory University Libraries Announce Zotero Partnership

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Partnership with Emory University Libraries Further Solidifies Zotero’s Role as a Platform for Digital Research and Innovation

The Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University
and the Emory University Libraries are pleased to announce a
cooperative partnership on Zotero (www.zotero.org), the free,
open-source bibliographic manager. A team of librarians, information
technologists and faculty members led by Connie Moon Sehat, Emory
Libraries’ new director of digital scholarship initiatives, will
extend research capabilities of the software in collaboration with
Zotero’s main development team. Sehat is a former co-director of
Zotero and CHNM.

For Dan Cohen, who is associate professor of history at George Mason
University and director of CHNM, a relationship with Emory exemplifies
the powerful opportunities for institutional cooperation offered by
digital media. “The Center for History and New Media and the Zotero
Project are lucky to now have the resources and experience of Emory on
their side,” says Cohen, “and the continued insight and direction of
Connie Sehat. We look forward to what will undoubtedly be a
tremendously productive collaboration.” Cohen oversees Zotero with
Sean Takats, assistant professor of history at George Mason and CHNM’s
acting director of research projects.

This relationship marks a significant step forward for the future of
the Zotero project. “Partnering on the development of open source
software with CHNM, an established center of excellence in the digital
humanities, allows the Emory Libraries to create value for the
research community while sharing the risks in developing innovative
software,” says Rick Luce, Emory University vice provost and director
of libraries.

Already a powerful research tool, Zotero allows users to gather,
organize and analyze sources such as citations, full texts, web pages,
images and other objects. It meshes the functionality of older
reference manager applications with modern software and web
applications, such as del.icio.us and YouTube, to amass large amounts
of data in easy ways.

Over the next two years, Zotero will allow researchers – and their
data – to interact with one another in Web 2.0 communities, help
scholars archive information with the Internet Archive and offer
text-mining capabilities. Zotero also will expand educational
offerings to provide more support for its growing national and
international communities of users, many located in university
settings. Working in conjunction with the Zotero team at CHNM, Emory’s
Zotero team will take advantage of local research environments and
library expertise to contribute to Zotero’s anticipated growth.

Since its introduction in 2006, Zotero has earned significant
accolades for its facilitation of online research. It was named a PC
Magazine’s “Best Free Software” in 2007 and again this year, as well
as “Best Instructional Software” of 2007 as determined by the
Information Technology and Politics section of the American Political
Science Association.

CHNM Releases Omeka 0.10b

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

The Center for History and New Media, in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society, is pleased to announce a major new release of its Omeka web publishing platform, version 0.10b. From the Swahili word meaning “to display” or “to lay out for discussion,” Omeka is a next generation web publishing platform for collections-based research of all kinds, one that bridges the scholarly, library, and museum worlds through a set of commonly recognized standards. In doing so Omeka puts serious web publishing within reach of all scholars and cultural heritage professionals. Omeka is free and open-source, easy to use, standards based, and extensible. It is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content and interpretation rather than programming. Its unqualified Dublin Core metadata structure and adherence to web standards allows anyone to design fully accessible online exhibitions efficiently. Omeka’s modular architecture and rich API empower people with a range of programming skills to participate in its open source community and expand its capabilities by adding specialized metadata element sets and plugins. Plugins bring Web 2.0 technologies and approaches to academic and cultural websites that foster user participation.

CHNM is also re-launching the project website, http://omeka.org, with a new look. The new design showcases a diverse range of Omeka-powered websites and encourages involvement from the open-source development and user community.

Scholars and cultural heritage professionals no longer need extensive technical skills or expensive systems to publish collections-based research and online exhibitions. They only need Omeka.

Omeka is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Omeka 0.10b Features

  • Free and open source publishing suite for scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, and cultural enthusiasts
  • Unqualified Dublin Core structure is interoperable with existing digital collections systems.
  • W3C, 508 standards compliant
  • Improved exhibit building
  • Element sets for institution-specific metadata sets
  • Web 2.0 functionality: Syndicate content with RSS/ATOM feeds; tag items with keywords; personalize favorite items; invite users to share in content creation.
  • Plugins: geolocation, bi-lingual sites, user-created content, document browsing, batch uploading, or build one to suit project needs.
  • Themes: easily choose, modify, or build your own site design.
  • Data migration tools: Coming soon for popular content management systems

Selected Websites Built with Omeka

Making the History of 1989 Site Launches

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University is pleased to announce the launch of a new website on the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe in 1989.

The site, Making the History of 1989 (http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/), offers students, teachers, and scholars access to hundreds of primary sources on or related to the events of 1989 and the end of the Cold War in Europe, interviews with prominent historians, and a series of resources for teachers at both the high school and college level.

As with all resources created by our Center, all the resources contained in Making the History of 1989 are and will remain free and open access.

This project has been made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the German Historical Institute (Washington, D.C.).

Statement on Zotero Suit

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

George Mason University has just released an official statement about the Thomson Reuters lawsuit over CHNM’s Zotero, an open source competitor to Thomson Reuter’s EndNote:

The Thomson Reuters Corporation has sued the Commonwealth of Virginia over Zotero, a project based at George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media (CHNM). A free and open-source software initiative, Zotero aims to create the world’s best research tool and has already been adopted by hundreds of thousands of users at countless colleges and research universities. CHNM announces that it has re-released the full functionality of Zotero 1.5 Sync Preview to its users and the open source community.

As part of its formal response to this legal action, Mason will also not renew its site license for EndNote. As academics themselves, the creators of the Zotero project strive to serve the scholarly community and to respond to its needs in an age of digital research. In line with that simple goal, they maintain that anything created by users of Zotero belongs to those users, and that it should be as easy as possible for Zotero users to move to and from the software as they wish, without friction. CHNM concurs with the journal Nature, which recently editorialized about this matter: “The virtues of interoperability and easy data-sharing among researchers are worth restating.”

CHNM remains committed to the openness it has promoted since its founding at Mason in 1994 and to the freedoms of users of its websites and software. Its ambitious development cycle and plans for Zotero’s future remain unchanged. CHNM will continue to develop and implement new research technologies in the pursuit of better ways to create and share scholarship. CHNM greatly appreciates the many supportive comments it has received from scholars, librarians, and administrators around the globe.

Kress Foundation Funds CHNM Mobile Research, Omeka Plugins

Monday, October 20th, 2008

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has awarded two grants to CHNM to undertake two new projects: a study of museums’ use of mobile communications technology and a set of Omeka plugins for art historians and art museums.

The first grant will provide CHNM with funding for a thorough survey of the use of cell phones, Blackberries, iPods, and other mobile devices in art museums. Based on the survey’s findings, the project will produce a white paper of concrete recommendations on how best to use these new technologies to engage visitors with visual art objects and a set of rough prototypes or proofs of concept based on these recommendations.

The second project will produce a set of three plugins for the Omeka web publishing platform geared specifically to the needs of art historians and art museums. The first of these plugins will extend Omeka’s data model to accommodate the emerging CDWA Lite (Categories for the Description of Works of Art Lite) metadata standard, which is gaining widespread adoption among the art museum community. The second will utilize Omeka’s built-in RSS feeds to allow any visitor to an Omeka website to view a museum’s collection in “slide show” or “3D” mode using the popular and visually striking Cooliris software. The third plugin will afford visitors to Omeka websites the ability to annotate and label images and share those annotations with friends, colleagues, and classmates.

The new partnership with Kress underscores CHNM’s broad commitment to digital history and humanities, increasing the Center’s formal engagement with art and art history and pushing scholarly and museum technology in new directions.

THATCamp 2009

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Back by popular demand, THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) will return to CHNM on June 27-28, 2009. Timed to follow the Digital Humanities 2009 conference being hosted by our colleagues at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, the second annual THATCamp will strive to recreate the collegial atmosphere and innovative spirit of last spring’s event. At the same time, we hope to build on the strengths of THATCamp 2008 and make THATCamp 2009 even better. Responding to the tremendous outpouring of interest we received in the first THATCamp, we will expand the number of campers this time from 70 to 100. We will streamline the application process to allow pre-conference discussions to begin earlier and flow more freely. And we will open up our “unconference” format even further, encouraging even more spontaneous discussion and organic scheduling.

Stay tuned to the THATCamp blog for a more formal announcement and application guidelines.

Inaugural WordCamp Ed to be hosted at CHNM

Monday, October 13th, 2008

On Saturday, November 22, 2008, CHNM will host the very first WordCamp Ed, a WordCamp conference focused entirely on educational uses of the WordPress blogging and content management software in schools and universities. Organized in partnership with the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University, the one-day event will feature a morning of pre-planned speakers and a barcamp-style afternoon of smaller discussion sessions. Registration is free at the WordCamp Ed blog.

WordCamp Ed builds on the success of last spring’s THATCamp, reinforcing CHNM’s growing importance as a gathering place for the educational and cultural technology communities.

Jon Stewart Hosts CHNM’s Rick Shenkman on the Daily Show

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

On June 11, 2008, the editor of CHNM’s History News Network, Rick Shenkman, appeared on Comedy Central’s the Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss his recent work, Just How Stupid are We: The Truth About the American Voter.  A current bestseller on Amazon.com, Just How Stupid are We cites disturbing statistics that Shenkman believes reveal Americans simply do not know much about politics.

http://hnn.us/HowStupidAreWe/media.html

When only 2 out of 5 citizens are able to name the three branches of the federal government, only 1 in 7 can find Iraq on a world map, and the majority believe the war in Iraq was caused by Saddam Hussein’s involvement with Al-Qaeda, Shenkman questions the ability of American voters to make intelligent and informed decisions for guiding the world’s most powerful government.

Shenkman further suggests that the majority of American voters are not only unaware of current events and unable to differentiate between facts and spin, but they simply do not care to learn more if it involves reading a newspaper or book rather than absorbing their news from entertaining network news shows.

Speaking with Jon Stewart, Shenkman questioned the depth of the news presented on television, including the Daily Show, and pointed to the host’s responsibility to present relevant information to viewers rather than focusing on entertaining details. Stewart praised Shenkman’s call for intellectual accountability: if the American people are going to criticize the current administration, they should educate themselves in order to be able to enact critical change.

In addition to being the editor of the History News Network (http://hnn.us), Rick Shenkman is an Emmy-wining investigative journalist and the New York Times best-selling author of six books, including Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of American History and Presidential Ambition: How the Presidents Gained Power, Kept Power and Got Things Done.

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Since 1994, the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has used digital media and computer technology to democratize history—to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences, and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past. We sponsor more than two dozen digital history projects and offer free tools and resources for historians. Learn More

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