Archive for 2014

Digital History Fellowships available for Fall 2015

Monday, December 15th, 2014

We’re pleased to announce that the Department of History & Art History at George Mason University has received another round of funding from the Provost’s PhD Award Program to admit two Digital History Fellows in each of the next three years.

Fellows enrolling in Fall 2015 will receive stipends of $20,000 for two years, during which time they will take a practicum course each semester here at RRCHNM, and then a further three years of support from the Department of History and Art History. The practicum courses provide an opportunity to be part of a digital history center and to contribute to a range of projects across all three of the Center’s divisions. Syllabi for the practicum courses can be found on the Fellows’ blog, which also includes posts by all three cohorts of fellows reflecting on their experiences at the Center.

Students interested in applying to the GMU History PhD program and being a Digital history Fellow, should consult the information on the department website or contact the department’s graduate director, Professor Cindy Kierner. Applications close January 15, 2015

In Memory of Michael Mizell-Nelson

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

The Center recently learned that a long-time collaborator and friend, Michael Mizell-Nelson, passed away after a battle with cancer. He was a driving force behind the success of the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank (HDMB), and was a public historian committed to his hometown of New Orleans and to teaching and fostering civic activism in his students.

Two weeks after evacuating from New Orleans, a young Assistant Professor at the University of New Orleans (UNO) contacted Roy seeking advice for developing a documentary on Hurricane Katrina: the destruction, the responses (and lack thereof), and recovery. Roy discussed Michael’s ideas and the possibility of creating an online collecting project modeled after the September 11 Digital Archive with Center staff. Thankfully, the Sloan Foundation wanted to support an electronic collecting project. As Roy began to assemble a project team, he asked Michael to take the lead at UNO and to serve as the project’s Outreach Lead for what would become the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank: http://hurricanearchive.org/.

Michael and his community of colleagues, friends, and neighbors were profoundly affected by Hurricane Katrina and the second hit from Hurricane Rita a few weeks later. They struggled not only with physical destruction of place, but also with emotional trauma (more…)

The Future of RRCHNM

Monday, November 17th, 2014

This is the text of my presentation in the session on the future of digital humanities centers, on day two of RRCHNM20. November 15, 2014.  I wasn’t originally slated to be one of the speakers, but by the time it became clear that one person we had invited could not attend, I realized that I should be speaking, that people wanted to hear from me about the future of RRCHNM. Accordingly, I departed from the brief and spoke not about DH centers in general, but instead about the future of the center whose anniversary we marked that day. We will soon be posting video recordings of both this session, and the afternoon session on the future of digital history. In the meantime, Bethany Nowviskie, one of the other speakers has also posted her talk online: “speculative computing and the centers to come.”
—Stephen Robertson

The twentieth anniversary of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media finds it in a period of transition. A little more than a year ago, both Dan Cohen, the director, and Tom Scheinfeldt, the managing director, whose names appear in the credits of at least twenty-six Center projects, left to pursue new opportunities. The departure of visionary leaders has generally been fatal for digital humanities centers. But (more…)

RRCHNM20 Site Live

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

We’re pleased to announce that the RRCHNM20 site is now live. This site is a collection of material about projects created by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University in the first twenty years of its existence, 1994–2014.

This material has been gathered and made public to mark the Center’s anniversary, and to provide resources for the first day of the RRCHNM 20th Anniversary Conference (#rrchnm20), on November 14, 2014, which is devoted to hands-on work with Center projects—past and present.

Our aim in sharing this material is to provide insight on the process of creating digital history, and to highlight the roles of a range of staff and collaborators, across twenty years of changing structures, practices, concerns, hardware, and software.

RRCHNM20siteThe collection encompasses more than 60 of the 149 projects undertaken by the Center, as of November 2014. Not included are twelve current projects, as well as small contract and web design projects. Most of the documents are grant proposals and reports. We have removed the detailed budgets from these proposals, as well as letters of support and CVs; they are otherwise complete. The site also includes information on most of the just over 150 people who worked (more…)

100 Leaders Opens for Voting!

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

National History Day (NHD) and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) announce the launch of the voting platform for 100 Leaders in World History (100leaders.org), a project sponsored by Kenneth E. Behring.

The site includes profiles of 100 leaders in world history selected by a panel of historians, teachers, and students in May 2014. Rate leaders on five qualities of leadership and compare your ratings with the panel and other voters.

The challenge for NHD and the RRCHNM team: How to invite people to think about different qualities of leadership in a meaningful way and explore the legacy of significant leaders?

The solution: a custom Drupal website with a jQuery slider for the rating interface.

100Leaders-Voting-Interface-2You decide whether each leader:

  • Articulates a vision;
  • Motivates others;
  • Makes effective decisions;
  • Confronts tough issues; and
  • Impacts history.

After each vote, the site introduces you to other leaders, some you may or may not know. You can also search by name or filter by time period, sphere of influence, or type of leader.

An introductory video explores the question: “What makes a leader?” Other videos present teaching strategies and a peek into the selection process.

100 Leaders in World History utilizes responsive design, allowing voting via desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

The website (more…)

CHNM’s Histories: Digital History and Teaching History

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Cross-posted from Stephen Robertson’s blog. This is the second in a series of posts about aspects of RRCHNM’s history written to mark the Center’s 20th anniversary.

No sooner had I published my blog post on the differences between digital history and digital humanities than I realized that I had blurred a crucial difference between digital history and digital humanities: digital history has been far more focused on teaching than digital humanities. In my earlier post I collapsed teaching projects into the broader category of presenting material online; doing so masked a sharper distinction in activity around teaching. Digital humanities, while not unconcerned with teaching, has given it far less attention relative to research than digital history, and, that attention has focused on teaching digital approaches, methods and tools. By contrast, digital history has focused on teaching history, has been “engaged in the project of improving the quality of classroom teaching practices and learning outcomes,” as Steve Brier put it, by using digital media to develop resources and professional development for teachers of K-12 and undergraduate students. The scale and reach of these projects warrants far greater attention to them than they have received in discussions of digital humanities. RRCHNM’s earliest teaching project, History Matters, (more…)

One month until RRCHNM’s 20th Anniversary Conference

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

RRCHNM’s 20th anniversary is now only one month away. Over 100 people have registered to attend the free, two-day event on November 14 and 15. There is still time to join us – details and the registration form can be found here. More details of the schedule will be released soon.

As part of lead-up to the conference, RRCHNM’s director, Stephen Robertson, is writing a series of blog posts highlighting different aspects of the Center’s history. The first, CHNM’s Histories: Collaboration in Digital History, explores the Center’s early collaborations with the American Social History Project.

RRCHNM Partners with National History Day for WWII Teacher Institute

Monday, October 6th, 2014

National History Day (NHD) announced the 18 middle and high school teachers selected to participate in the American Battle Monuments Commission’s (ABMC) Understanding Sacrifice program. The selected teachers will conduct an in-depth study of World War II in northern Europe and create teaching activities using ABMC resources.

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is partnering with NHD in this year-long program and will design the companion website to share the classroom activities developed through the teacher institute. The goal of the project is to provide classroom activities that are:

  • Accurate: grounded in current scholarship about WWII, the evolving role of ABMC, and the commemoration of WWII;
  • Engaging: shaped by recent research on teaching and learning about the past and focused on hands-on student interaction that promotes active learning — “doing history” — as well as learning from multiple disciplinary perspectives; and
  • Relevant: cross-curricular, flexible, and adaptable for a diverse range of middle and high school classroom settings.

In late October, the group will host the first teacher workshop on Mason’s Arlington Campus and will work with teachers throughout the year to develop activities. The institute culminates in a two-week field study of ABMC cemeteries in northern Europe.

“NHD is constantly looking for new opportunities to (more…)

IMLS funds Opening Omeka for Close and Distant Reading

Monday, September 29th, 2014

RRCHNM is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to fund Opening Omeka for Close and Distant Reading [LG-05-14-00125-14].

Over the course of the two decades since the invention of the web browser, the world’s libraries have provided digital access to a torrent of cultural heritage materials. For many libraries and special collections, Omeka has been the route to providing this kind of unprecedented public access to their holdings. While access to digitized materials is better than ever, average users do not have adequate tools to help them gain intellectual control over these materials—up close and at scale.

Libraries and archives with diverse collections need a new set of easy-to-use tools to enable visitors to engage in both distant and close reading, without requiring users to have knowledge of sophisticated programming languages. In some collections, an individual item may appear trivial and anecdotal. But, examining all items as a coherent corpus holds the promise of surfacing larger insights by evaluating large bodies of text in the aggregate. While some researchers interested in examining large-scale collections, researchers often also need to closely examine individual elements. This practice (more…)

IMLS Funds Omeka Everywhere

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, in partnership with Ideum and the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media Center, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Museums from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences to create Omeka Everywhere. Dramatically increasing the possibilities for visitor access to collections, Omeka Everywhere will offer a simple, cost-effective solution for connecting onsite web content and in-gallery multi-sensory experiences, affordable to museums of all sizes and missions, by capitalizing on the strengths of two successful collections-based open-source software projects: Omeka and Open Exhibits.

Currently, museums are expected to engage with visitors, share content, and offer digitally-enabled experiences everywhere: in the museum, on the Web, and on social media networks. These ever-increasing expectations, from visitors to museum administrators, place a heavy burden on the individuals creating and maintaining these digital experiences. Content experts and museum technologists often become responsible for multiple systems that do not integrate with one another. Within the bounds of tight budget, it is increasingly difficult for institutions to meet visitors’ expectations and to establish a cohesive digital strategy. Omeka Everywhere will provide a solution to these difficulties by developing a (more…)

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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.