Archive for 2009

CHNM Wins International Funding for Digging into Data Challenge

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The Center for History and New Media, as part of a team with humanities centers from the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Alberta, has received funding from the Digging into Data Challenge Competition for their project, “Data Mining with Criminal Intent: Using Zotero and TAPoR on the Old Bailey Proceedings.” This project will develop tools and models for comparing, visualizing, and analyzing the history of crime, using the Old Bailey Online, which contains extensive court records of more than 197,000 individual trials held over a period of 240 years in Great Britain.

Eight international research teams have been awarded the first Digging into Data Challenge grants for projects that promote innovative humanities and social science research using large-scale data analysis.  Four leading research agencies sponsor the international competition:  the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) from the United Kingdom, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) from the United States, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) from Canada.

“Trying to manage a deluge of data and turn bits of information into useful knowledge is a problem that affects almost everyone in today’s digital age,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach.  “With this international grant program, NEH is hoping to seed projects that will not only benefit researchers in the humanities, but also lead to shared cultural understanding.”

The competition winners were announced at an event Thursday night in Ottawa, Ontario, that featured remarks by NEH Chairman Jim Leach and SSHRC President Chad Gaffield.  The eight winning teams represent successful applications from 22 scholars and scientists from the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Each team includes researchers from at least two of the participating countries.  With their awards, the teams will demonstrate how data mining and data analysis tools currently used in the sciences can improve scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.  Total project funding by all four agencies is approximately $2 million (U.S.) dollars.  NEH’s contribution of $498,737 supports American scholars from five of the teams.

Detailed descriptions of the eight winning projects can be found here:  http://www.neh.gov/news/archive/pdf/DiggingintoDataProjects_09Dec.pdf

Additional information about the competition can be found at www.diggingintodata.org.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, museum exhibitions, and programs in libraries and other community places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available on the Internet at www.neh.gov.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, its budget is $9.5 billion, which includes $3.0 billion provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to over 1,900 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 44,400 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.  More information about NSF is available on the Internet at www.nsf.gov/.

The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) is a joint committee of the U.K. further and higher education funding bodies and is responsible for supporting the innovative use of information and communication technology (ICT) to support learning, teaching, and research.  It is best known for providing a U.K. national infrastructure network, a range of support, content, and advisory services, and a portfolio of high-quality resources.  Information about JISC, its services, and programs can be found at www.jisc.ac.uk.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is an independent federal government agency that funds university-based research and graduate training through national peer-review competitions. SSHRC also partners with public and private sector organizations to focus research and aid the development of better policies and practices in key areas of Canada’s social, cultural and economic life.  More information about SSHRC is available on the Internet at http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/.

CHNM Grants Administrator Andy Privee Wins the 2009 GMU Mary Roper Award

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Andy Privee, the grants administrator for the Center for History and New Media (CHNM), and Kathy Secrist, a long-time staff member of the Sociology and Anthropology Department, were each presented with a 2009 Mary Roper award in a ceremony at the George Mason University Center for the Arts December 2nd.

The Roper Award began in 2001 and was named for a veteran GMU employee, Mary Roper, who worked in the department of biology and in the college dean’s office for 14 years.  Ms. Roper was in attendance at the ceremony to honor the College of Humanities and Social Sciences staff members who have consistently demonstrated excellent performance, commitment, and dedication to the college.

“Both Karen and Andy continually embody the qualities of the Mary Roper award,” said Censer.

Privee joined CHNM in 2006, bringing with him 30 years of experience in administrative and operations roles for the Peace Corps and Environmental Protection Agency. An avid marathon runner, who has finished 13 different races around the east coast, Privee’s work at CHNM requires similar stamina.

“He has become essential to the stability of CHNM,” said Censer.

Both Privee and Secrist were presented with an engraved glass award and gifts.

“Usually, success is not the result of an individual but of teamwork,” said Privee.

Secrist and Privee were honored, as were four others with administrative awards: Frah Abdi (Outstanding HR and Finance), Dana Vogel (Outstanding Administrative Support), Mary Jackson (Outstanding Graduate Program Support) and Carrie Grabo (Outstanding Undergraduate Program Support).

CHNM Announces the First Receipient of the AHA Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

The Center for History and New Media is honored to announce Digital Harlem Everyday Life, 1915-1930 as the inaugural recipient of the American Historical Association’s Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship for Innovation in Digital History. The award will be presented at the 2010 AHA Conference in San Diego this coming January.

The Digital Harlem website presents information, drawn from legal records, newspapers and other archival and published sources, about everyday life in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood in the years 1915-1930.

Digital Harlem is an element of the project, Black Metropolis: Harlem, 1915-1930, which was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant. Unlike most studies of Harlem in the early twentieth century, this project focuses not on black artists and the black middle class, but on the lives of ordinary African New Yorkers. It does so primarily by using legal records, which encompass not only hardened criminals but also first offenders, ordinary residents acting out of desperation, poverty or anger, and which reveal all manner of things that would not ordinarily be labeled ‘criminal’– street life, black language, music, family life – as well as evidence of the role of gambling, violence and confidence men in the black community.

The Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship for Innovation in Digital History is sponsored jointly by the AHA and the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University. It was developed by friends and colleagues of Roy Rosenzweig (1950–2007), the Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of History and New Media at George Mason University, to honor his life and work as a pioneer in the field of digital history. This nonresidential fellowship will be awarded annually to honor and support work on an innovative and freely available new media project, and in particular for work that reflects thoughtful, critical, and rigorous engagement with technology and the practice of history.

CHNM and Mount Vernon launch Martha Washington biography site

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

The Center for History and New Media and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens are proud to announce the launch of a new website chronicling the life of Martha Washington.

Through the generosity of Donald and Nancy DeLaski, Martha Washington: a Life (marthawashington.us) examines Martha’s life and relationships by making available documents, historical items, teaching materials, and other resources. A biographical narrative exhibit, written by George Mason University History professor Rosemarie Zagarri, highlights the major milestones of the First Lady’s life as a young woman, bride, mother, First Lady, and widow.

Three teaching modules use Martha’s experiences as a lens through which to examine themes of sociability, slavery, and the Revolutionary War. Each includes a short introductory film, a collection of primary sources, and classroom activities for middle and high school students.

The site also includes a searchable archive which allows visitors to examine more than 450 items and documents related to Martha and her life. The letters, documents, images, and material culture objects in the archive provide users with a glimpse into the world of Virginia’s 18th century planter class.

George Mason and CHNM to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall with Support from the German Embassy

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

The Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989, signaling the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new era in transatlantic relations and European unity. November 9, 2009 celebrates 20 years since the Berlin Wall was torn down. Long a symbol of isolation and contention, the Berlin Wall now symbolizes hope, change and unity.  Students at more than 25 US universities will celebrate the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by organizing Campus Weeks with financial and organizational support from the German Embassy in Washington DC .

This fall,  George Mason University and CHNM will join in the German Embassy’s campaign, Freedom Without Walls, a crosscultural celebration of the unification of East Germany and West Germany, and the possibility for peaceful change  throughout the world. CHNM is hosting the George Mason website for Freedom Without Walls, which will feature updates on project news, Campus Week events, and new content.

The Campus Weeks are a component of Germany ‘s Freedom Without Walls campaign, an effort to reach out to the generation that was born around the time the wall came down.

Ambassador Scharioth explained that reaching today’s university students is critical if the memory and the inspiration of the fall of the wall is to be preserved. “Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the vestiges of the wall remind us that freedom is precious,” he said. “We are proud to support a new generation of future leaders in their effort to discover and to share what the fall of the wall means to them,” he continued.

The Freedom Without Walls Campus Weeks will include public speaking competitions and an art competition involving replicas of the Berlin Wall to be located across the country.

The German Embassy has created a website with information about the historic anniversary at www.Germany.info/withoutwalls, as well as a Freedom Without Walls page on Facebook. The Germany.info website contains comprehensive information about the history of Germany’s division and reunification, and it will document the Campus Weeks using online video and photos.

The Freedom Without Walls campaign is generously supported by Air Berlin and by the Max Kade Foundation, Inc.

The Goethe-Institut USA and the Wende Museum in Los Angeles provide support in kind for the German Embassy’s Freedom Without Walls campaign.

Colleges and Universities Participating in Freedom Without Walls Campus Weeks 2009

Amherst College

Boston College

Bowdoin College

Brown University

California State University Long Beach

Canisius College , Buffalo

Chapman University , LA

University of Cincinnati

Columbia University

Cornell University

Duke University

University of Florida

University of South Florida

George Mason University

Georgetown University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

University of Michigan

Middlebury College

University of Missouri-St. Louis

University of Oregon

Rice University

University of St. Thomas

UCLA – to be confirmed

Vanderbilt University

University of Virginia

Wartburg College

Washington University

Westminster College

CHNM Celebrates GMU Open Access Week 2009

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

The Center for History and New Media is proud to support George Mason’s Open Access Week initiatives (October 19th through 23rd). Since its inception in 1994, CHNM has been committed to the free flow of information and has striven to create open source educational resources that provide room for communication and democratization of history.

Open Access Week draws worldwide attention to the unrestricted sharing of scholarly research and materials for the advancement and enjoyment of all. Open Access (OA) literature is freely accessible online–maximizing the visibility, use, and impact of research. Building on the success of last year’s Open Access Day, University Libraries’ participation in OA Week offers students, faculty, staff, and the public an opportunity to learn more about Mason’s OA initiatives.

Open Access is a growing international movement that encourages the unrestricted sharing of scholarly research and materials with everyone, everywhere, for the advancement and enjoyment of knowledge and society. Open Access is the principle that all research should be freely accessible online, immediately after publication. OA maximizes access to research, thereby enhancing its visibility, use, and impact.

Open Access Week is an opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access to research, including access policies from all types of research funders, within the international higher education community and the general public. The now-annual event has been expanded from a single day to accommodate widespread global interest in the movement toward open, public access to scholarly research. October 19-23, 2009 marks the first international Open Access Week.

Open Access Week builds on the momentum started by the student-led national day of action in 2007 and carried by the 120 campuses in 27 countries that celebrated Open Access Day in 2008. Organizers and contributors include SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition); the PLoS (The Public Library of Science); Students for Free Culture; OASIS (the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook); Open Access Directory (OAD); and eIFL.net (Electronic Information for Libraries).

For more information about Open Access Week, please visit http://www.openaccessweek.org/.

CHNM cohosts “The Conscience Un-Conference: Using Social Media for Good” with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Inspired in part by CHNM’s highly successful THATCamp series, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the Center for History and New Media will together cohost the Conscience Un-Conference: Using Social Media for Good,  a free, one-day “un-conference” that intends to bring together interesting and interested people to talk about the problems, practicalities, and opportunities of using social media to further the missions of “institutions of conscience”—those concerned with violence and atrocities, human rights, and related issues.

Recently, museums and other educational institutions have embraced social media—media that encourages multi-way communication and the building of networks—to connect with their audiences. But, participating in social media raises a lot of questions that include concerns about balancing accessibility of collections with control; grappling with authoritative and personal voice; and measuring impact and outcomes. While these issues are of concern to many institutions, they need to be addressed with special tact by those who deal with sensitive subject matter and vulnerable populations, and who hold in trust the memories of victims of tyranny, human rights abuses, and genocide. This un-conference aims to hash out these concerns with people interested in these issues.

The un-conference will be held on Saturday, December 5, 2009 from 8:30am to 5:30pm at USHMM in Washington, DC. To learn more and submit an application, visit http://www.ushmm.org/social/blog/about.

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CHNM Labs Report on Mobile Usage in Museums

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

CHNM Labs released a new research report today, Mobile for Museums http://chnm.gmu.edu/labs/mobile-for-museums/. Funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the report assesses how art museums are incorporating mobile technologies into visitor experiences and offers replicable mobile prototypes based on those findings.

A survey of the field shows that for many years art museums have been at the forefront of offering their visitors learning experiences that extend beyond traditional exhibit labels. That trend continues as art museums add cell phone tours, podcasts, and platform-specific applications in an effort to capitalize on the commonly-owned portable devices—iPods, MP3 players, Blackberries, cell phones—that visitors already carry in their pockets.

CHNM found that while all genres of museums are very interested in offering content and unique experiences using mobiles, their biggest challenge is working with small budgets and a small staff, limiting their ability to develop content for mobiles.

To address these needs, Mobile for Museums offers recommendations and free, replicable prototypes based on this research on how to economically provide mobile users with positive experiences in and outside a museum.

These prototypes include:

• New plugins for the Omeka http://omeka.org software package allowing institutions to use already-created collections content and re-purpose it with plugins for use inside the gallery, including: Send to Mobile, Bar Codes, and Social Bookmarking.

• Website design optimized for cross-platform mobile browsers that is accessible by a variety of mobile and smart phones, for possible use outside of the gallery.

• A cross-platform application built in PhoneGap that harnesses the functionality native to a mobile device.

These examples are simply proofs of concept, but we hope that by making them and the code available http://code.google.com/p/art-in-the-city/ we will provide the museum community with some fresh possibilities for mobile development.

Finally, the report site includes a dynamic Resources section http://chnm.gmu.edu/labs/mobile-for-museums/resources/, with a Yahoo Pipe of feeds from museum-related websites discussing mobile topics. A public Zotero group offers a growing, annotated bibliography of current resources, and is open for all to join and to contribute other research in the field: http://www.zotero.org/groups/mobile_museums/items.

CHNM encourages collaboration and discussion of our findings and prototypes, through commenting directly on the site. We hope that this research and development will encourage more institutions to share their development and experiments with the greater museum community.

George Mason and CHNM to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall with Support from the German Embassy

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

The Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989, signaling the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new era in transatlantic relations and European unity. November 9, 2009 celebrates 20 years since the Berlin Wall was torn down. Long a symbol of isolation and contention, the Berlin Wall now symbolizes hope, change and unity.  Students at more than 25 US universities will celebrate the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by organizing Campus Weeks with financial and organizational support from the German Embassy in Washington DC .

This fall,  George Mason University and CHNM will join in the German Embassy’s campaign, Freedom Without Walls, a crosscultural celebration of the unification of East Germany and West Germany, and the possibility for peaceful change  throughout the world. CHNM is hosting the George Mason website for Freedom Without Walls, which will feature updates on project news, Campus Week events, and new content.

The Campus Weeks are a component of Germany ‘s Freedom Without Walls campaign, an effort to reach out to the generation that was born around the time the wall came down.

Ambassador Scharioth explained that reaching today’s university students is critical if the memory and the inspiration of the fall of the wall is to be preserved. “Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the vestiges of the wall remind us that freedom is precious,” he said. “We are proud to support a new generation of future leaders in their effort to discover and to share what the fall of the wall means to them,” he continued.

The Freedom Without Walls Campus Weeks will include public speaking competitions and an art competition involving replicas of the Berlin Wall to be located across the country.

The German Embassy has created a website with information about the historic anniversary at www.Germany.info/withoutwalls, as well as a Freedom Without Walls page on Facebook. The Germany.info website contains comprehensive information about the history of Germany’s division and reunification, and it will document the Campus Weeks using online video and photos.

The Freedom Without Walls campaign is generously supported by Air Berlin and by the Max Kade Foundation, Inc.

The Goethe-Institut USA and the Wende Museum in Los Angeles provide support in kind for the German Embassy’s Freedom Without Walls campaign.

Colleges and Universities Participating in Freedom Without Walls Campus Weeks 2009

Amherst College

Boston College

Bowdoin College

Brown University

California State University Long Beach

Canisius College , Buffalo

Chapman University , LA

University of Cincinnati

Columbia University

Cornell University

Duke University

University of Florida

University of South Florida

George Mason University

Georgetown University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

University of Michigan

Middlebury College

University of Missouri-St. Louis

University of Oregon

Rice University

University of St. Thomas

UCLA – to be confirmed

Vanderbilt University

University of Virginia

Wartburg College

Washington University

Westminster College

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity Receives MERLOT Award for Online Learning Excellence

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

At the 2009 Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) International Conference,  the CHNM website Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution was presented with the MERLOT Classics Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resource.

The MERLOT Awards program recognizes and promotes outstanding online resources designed to enhance teaching and learning and to honor the authors and developers of these resources for their contributions to the academic community.

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) is a leading edge, user-centered, searchable collection of peer reviewed and selected higher education, online learning materials, catalogued by registered members and a set of faculty development support services. MERLOT’s vision is to be a premiere online community where faculty, staff, and students from around the world share their learning materials and pedagogy. MERLOT’s strategic goal is to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning by increasing the quantity and quality of peer reviewed online learning materials that can be easily incorporated into faculty-designed courses.

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution is an accessible introduction to the French Revolution, presenting an broad archive of some of the most important documentary evidence from the Revolution, including 338 texts, 245 images, and a number of maps and songs. Lynn Hunt of UCLA and Jack Censer of George Mason University—both internationally renowned scholars of the Revolution—served as principal authors and editors. The site is a collaboration of CHNM and American Social History Project (City University of New York), and supported by grants from the Florence Gould Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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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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