Archive for 2009

CHNM celebrates the 30th Anniversary of NECC

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

As the National Education Computer Conference (NECC) celebrated its 30th Anniversary in the nation’s capital, the CHNM Outreach Team was on-hand Monday to enjoy a busy afternoon speaking with an international audience at the Convention Center in Washington, DC. The CHNM poster session highlighted free tools for teachers that promote digital literacy and critical thinking: Zotero, Omeka, ScholarPress, and the National History Education Clearinghouse Tools for Teachers.

The annual NECC conference—presented by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and keyed to the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)—features innovative workshops, including Model Lessons, BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop) sessions, and Open Source Labs. The nonprofit ISTE focuses on improving teaching, learning, and school leadership by advancing the effective use of technology in PK–12 and teacher education.

One Week, One Tool: A Digital Humanities Barn Raising

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

We are very happy to report that CHNM has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under its Institute for Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities program to do for the summer scholarly institute what THATCamp is doing for the scholarly conference. Under the banner of “better, faster, lighter”—as well as more pragmatic, more collaborative, and more fun—CHNM will host a diverse group of twelve digital humanists for a busy week of tool-building in Summer 2010. Welcome to One Week, One Tool, a digital humanities barn raising.

With a decade of successful digital tool-building experience under its belt, we at CHNM have come to the conclusion that effective digital tools are forged mostly in practice rather than theory. Although inspirational ideas and disciplinary training are necessary, the creative process succeeds or fails due to pragmatic, often hidden or ignored fundamentals such as good user interface design, thorough code commenting and documentation, community engagement, dissemination and “marketing,” and effective project management. We may have a vision for an ideal end product, but frequently a tool is made or broken in seemingly more mundane aspects of software development.

Too often these practical aspects get lost in our conferences and workshops, only to be encountered by inexperienced tool builders at later stages of development and release. We thus believe a useful digital humanities institute should involve a great deal of doing in addition to basic instruction. There is no reason that a week long institute can’t both teach and produce something useful to the community—an actual digital humanities tool—while also laying the foundation and skills for future endeavors by the participants. Indeed, the act of doing, of building the tool, should be the best way for participants to learn what digital humanities really is and how it really happens.

We therefore propose a unique kind of institute: One Week, One Tool will teach participants how to build a digital tool for humanities scholarship by actually building a tool, from inception to launch, in a week—a digital humanities barn raising.

One Week, One Tool won’t be for the faint of heart. For one week in June 2010, from early mornings to late nights, we will bring together a group of twelve digital humanists of diverse disciplinary backgrounds and practical experience to build something useful and useable. A short course of training in principles of open source software development will be followed by an intense five days of doing and a year of continued community engagement, development, testing, dissemination, and evaluation. Comprising designers and programmers as well as project managers and outreach specialists, the group will conceive a tool, outline a roadmap, develop and disseminate a modest prototype, lay the ground work for building an open source community, and make first steps toward securing the project’s long-term sustainability.

One Week, One Tool is inspired by both longstanding and cutting edge models of rapid community development. For centuries rural communities throughout the United States have come together for “barn raisings” when one of their number required the diverse set of skills and enormous effort required to build a barn—skills and effort no one member of the community alone could possess. In recent years, Internet entrepreneurs have likewise joined forces for crash “startup” or “blitz weekends” that bring diverse groups of developers, designers, marketers, and financiers together to launch a new technology company in the span of just two days. One Week, One Tool will build on these old and new traditions of community development and the natural collaborative strengths of the digital humanities community to produce something useful for digital humanities work and to help reset the balance between learning and doing in digital humanities training.

Are you ready to rumble?

Help the Center for History and New Media Innovate – Updated!

Monday, June 1st, 2009

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University (http://chnm.gmu.edu) is celebrating fifteen years of providing high-quality, free educational resources and tools to an audience that grows exponentially each year. Last year, sixteen million people visited CHNM’s websites and over two million people used our software.

The historians and technologists at CHNM feel lucky to serve this vast audience, but although all of our tools and resources are free, they are not without cost. With your help we hope to continue our service and innovation for another fifteen years and beyond. The National Endowment for the Humanities has given CHNM a rare challenge grant, which will match donations to CHNM’s endowment for a limited time.

Whether you use CHNM’s popular Zotero software for your research, get your daily fix from the History News Network, learn from award-winning sites such as Historical Thinking Matters and Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives, or scan through unique digital archives such as the Papers of the War Department, we hope you will make a contribution today. Your tax-deductible gift will help us to reach even more students, teachers, and scholars worldwide.

To make your donation right now, please visit:

http://chnm.gmu.edu/donate/

From all of us at the Center for History and New Media, we thank you in advance for helping us, as our motto says, “Build a Better Yesterday, Bit by Bit.”

UPDATE: An anonymous donor has stepped forward who will match the NEH’s match for the month of June, up to $15,000. So now is a terrific time to contribute and stretch your donation even further!

Zotero 2.0 is Here!

Friday, May 15th, 2009

After an extensive development and testing period and the addition of even more features to make academic research easier, more collaborative, and ready for the future, Zotero 2.0 went public tonight. I’ll be blogging extensively about Zotero 2.0 in this space over the coming weeks and months as it continues to develop, but here’s a quick list of what you get with the major upgrade:

Syncing

  • Automatic synchronization of collections among multiple computers. For example, sync your PC at work with your Mac laptop and your Linux desktop at home.
  • Free automatic backup of your library data on Zotero’s servers.
  • Automatic synchronization of your attachment files to a WebDAV server (e.g. iDisk, Jungle Disk, or university-provided web storage).

People

  • Zotero users get a personal page with a short biography and the ability to list their discipline and interests, create an online CV (simple to export to other sites), and grant access to their libraries.
  • Easily find others in one’s discipline or researchers with similar interests.
  • Follow other scholars—and be followed in return.

Groups

  • Create and join public and private groups on any topic.
  • Access in real time new research materials from your groups on the web or in the Zotero interface.
  • Easily move materials from a group stream into your personal library.

Even More Functionality That Makes Your Research Easier

  • Automatic detection of PDF metadata (i.e., author, title, etc.).
  • Automatic detection and support for proxy servers.
  • Trash can with restore item functionality so you don’t accidentally lose important materials.
  • Rich-text notes.
  • A new style manager allowing you to add and delete CSLs and legacy style formats.

As always, the real credit for Zotero goes to what Roy Rosenzweig aptly called “The People Who Did the Work”: Zotero co-director Sean Takats; lead developer Dan Stillman; developers Simon Kornblith, Jon Lesser, Faolan Cheslack-Postava, Fred Gibbs, Matt Burton; community lead Trevor Owens; integration advisor Raymond Yee; assistant Andrew Howard; and the scores of people beyond the Center for History and New Media who made contributions large and small to this open source project.

Zotero 2.0 was created with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

2009 Roy Rosenzweig Forum – Social Networking and the Semantic Web

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

On Wednesday, May 13th at 7:00 p.m., the Rosenzweig Forum on Technology and the Humanities and the Washington Semantic Web Group will host the a forum on Social Networking and the Semantic web in the George Mason University Johnson Center Cinema. The forum will host four speakers, Mills Davis, Andy Roth, Mike Petit, and Dan Cohen, who will share their projects and lead a group discussion at the end of the evening. Mills Davis of Project10X will showcase new developments in social networking and semantic technologies within government and private industry. Andy Roth, Chief Quality Officer at AdaptiveBlue, will discuss Glue, a browser add-on that allows you to find new things based on what your friends like. Mike Petit will present Amplify, an open platform that mimics human understanding of content and offers a broad range of unique, and previously unavailable, data to SemWeb practitioners. Finally, Dan Cohen of the Center for History and New Media will discuss new social and collaborative features for Zotero, the  free, easy-to-use Firefox extension which helps collect, manage, cite and share your research sources.

More information, including speaker bios, is available at the Washington Semantic Web Meet-up  forum website.

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

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

At the 2009 MERLOT International Conference this coming August, MERLOT will present Jack Censer, Dean of the George Mason University College of Humanities and Social Sciences, with the MERLOT Classics Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resource for the CHNM website, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution.

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.

The American Historical Association Announces the Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship for Innovation in Digital History

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

In 2009, George Mason University and the American Historical Association will offer the first Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship for Innovation in Digital History. This award was developed by friends and colleagues of Roy Rosenzweig (1950–2007), 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. The fellowship will be conferred on a project that is either in a late stage of development or which has been launched in the past year but is still in need of further improvements. The fellow(s) will be expected to apply awarded funds toward the advancement of the project goals during the fellowship year.

In a 1-2 page narrative, entries should provide a method of access to the project (e.g., web site address, software download), indicate the institutions and individuals involved with the project, and describe the project’s goals, functionality, intended audience, and significance. A short budget statement on how the fellowship funds will be used should be attached. Projects may only be submitted once for the Rosenzweig Fellowship.

The entry should be submitted by e-mail to gro.s1406733104nairo1406733104tsih@1406733104ezirp1406733104giewz1406733104nesor1406733104. Questions about the prize and application process should be directed to gro.s1406733104nairo1406733104tsih@1406733104dnesn1406733104wotr1406733104. The deadline for submission of entries is May 15, 2009. Recipients will be announced at the 2010 AHA Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Mikhail Gorbachev Visits George Mason

Monday, February 16th, 2009

The Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce the keynote speaker for George Mason University’s “1989: Looking Back, Looking Forward” conference will be Former Soviet President and Nobel Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev.  President Gorbachev will present the keynote address at the conference on March 24, and will additionally participate in a round table discussion the following day, with Lee Hamilton and William Webster.  For more information on the conference, including tickets to the event, breakout sessions, and associated film festival, see:  http://gorbachev.gmu.edu/.  The conference will offer a critical perspective on how the lessons of the end of the Cold War should be applied to the challenges of international cooperation.
You can examine vivid historical documents related to President Mikhail Gorbachev’s role in the epochal events of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, and the end of the Cold War, by accessing the Center for History and New Media’s project titled, Making the History of 1989, at:  http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/.

THATCamp 2009 Now Accepting Applications

Monday, February 9th, 2009

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.

Online applications are available at http://thatcamp.org/.

CHNM Receives Third James Harvey Robinson Prize from AHA

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

On January 3, 2008, the Center for History and New Media and the History Education Group at Stanford University were awarded the American Historical Association’s James Harvey Robinson Prize for Historical Thinking Matters <historicalthinkingmatters.org>.  The biennial prize is awarded for the teaching aid that had made the most outstanding contribution to the teaching and learning of history in any field for public or educational purposes.  Historical Thinking Matters is designed to teach students how to “think historically” by critically reading primary sources and participating in authentic inquiries about key topics in U.S. history.  Sharon Leon, Director of Public Projects at CHNM, was joined by Sam Wineburg and Daisy Martin from the History Education Group to accept the award from AHA President Gabrielle M. Spiegel at the General Meeting in New York City.  This is third CHNM project to receive the Robinson Prize.

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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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Teachinghistory.org is the central online location for accessing high-quality resources in K-12 U.S. history education. Explore the highlighted content on our homepage or visit individual sections for additional materials.