Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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 set of software packages—including Collections Viewer templates, mobile and touch tablet applications, and the Heist application—that bring digital collections hosted in Omeka into new spaces, enabling new kinds of visitor interactions.

Omeka Everywhere will expand audiences for museum-focused publicly-funded open source software projects by demonstrating how institutions of all sizes and budgets can implement next-generation computer exhibit elements into current and new exhibition spaces. Streamlining the workflows for creating and sharing digital content with online and onsite visitors, the project will empower smaller museums to rethink what is possible to implement on a shoestring budget. By enabling multi-touch and 3D interactive technologies on the museum floor, museums will reinvigorate interest in their exhibitions by offering on-site visitors unique experiences that connect them with the heart of the institution—their collections.

A New Look, and Improved Access and Stability for the September 11 Digital Archive

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

On this the 13th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is proud to launch a newly upgraded and redesigned site for the September 11 Digital Archive (911DA). The new site boasts improved access to the archive’s collections and, more importantly, increased stability for the materials.

A National Park Services’ Saving America’s Treasures grant has made it possible to migrate the materials from their original digital repository to the most recent version of Omeka. The result is that the materials are significantly easier to navigate, browse, and search. Additionally, a range of video collections are available that were not being served previously. The site offers range of data feeds (RSS, ATOM, XML, JSON), and eventually we will be offering API access for researchers and developers who would like to explore the collections in new applications and interfaces.

For the past three years, Jim Safley has painstakingly engineered and executed the complex work of this data migration. As a veteran of the project, no one knows the collections the way that Jim does, and his careful attention to detail has assured the integrity of this data as it has made its journey from a labyrinthine hand-coded database to the standardized home in Omeka. Then, Sheila Brennan guided Ben Schneider and Jeri Wieringa as they added additional collection description, massaged the collections into their current organizational structure, and themed the site with the current design. These members of the 911DA team are only the most recent additions to a staff list that stretches back a dozen years and includes Dan Cohen, Tom Scheinfeldt, Marty Andolino, Joan Troyano, Rikk Mulligan, and our many collaborators at the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center (ASHP/CML) including Fritz Umback and Pennee Bender, under the direction of Joshua Brown and Steve Brier, who were RRCHNM’s partners on this work from the earliest days.

The September 11 Digital Archive originated as an off-shoot of ECHO: Exploring and Collecting the History Online project, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which experimented with new means to collect and preserve the recent history of science, technology, and industry. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, RRCHNM, again with support from the Sloan Foundation, partnered with our colleagues at ASHP/CML to turn the emerging techniques toward the effort to preserve the collect, preserve, and present the wide range of primary source materials generated by and in response to the events of that morning, especially born digital materials. In February 2002, the first iteration of the 911DA launched with a web portal that made it possible for ordinary people to contribute their stories, upload digital materials, and explore other people’s stories. The site drew in essential contributions channeled through our partners at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the Library of Congress, The American Red Cross, The American Association of Museums, The Museum of the City of New York, The Brooklyn Historical Society, The New-York Historical Society, The Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center at CUNY, Columbia University, New York University, The Museum of Chinese in America, and many others. In September 2003, the Library of Congress accepted a copy of the collection as it stood at that point as its first major digital accession.

In the intervening years, the archive has amassed 150,000 digital files: stories, photographs, digital art images, emails, voicemails, videos, animations, official documents, and oral histories. Together these materials offer a deep record of the immediate aftermath of the events in New York, Arlington, and Shanksville, and their subsequent shifting historical memory, and have been at the heart of much of the existing scholarship on September 11th. At the 10th anniversary of the attacks, RRCHNM reopened the collecting portal and it will remain open to capture public reflections into the future.

For RRCHNM, the 911DA is a marquee project that is at the root of much of our subsequent work in digital public history and software development. As our first major collecting project, the archive directly lead to our work around hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and the eventual development of Omeka as a software platform that could offer libraries, archives, museums, and humanities scholars an easy way to collect, preserve, and present evidence of the recent past. As we mark this next phase in the life of the 911DA, we hope that you’ll revisit the collections to explore what they have to tell us about the events of that September morning, but also with an eye to how important this archive has been to the development of digital history more generally.

Virginia Child Custody Project

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

ChildCustodyProjectThe Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce the launch of the Virginia Child Custody Project. This freely available website explores child custody in Virginia and nationally within a broad historical and legal context with the goal of providing an impartial, interdisciplinary resource grounded in humanities scholarship.

With funding from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University, the website presents framing essays by leading scholars and practitioners on key issues in the complex field of child custody. Essays address topics such as the history of child custody in Virginia, the definition of family and child custody issues, child custody in the media, alternative dispute resolution, and the “best interests of the child” standard.

Authors include:

CHNM envisions expanding the project in the future to include custody laws and cases, recent research projects and studies, resource reviews, and links.

Doing Digital History in August

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

RRCHNM continued its summer of institutes in early August when 23 mid-career American historians arrived in Northern Virginia for “Doing Digital History.” Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities, the institute began on August 4 and ran for two weeks. Few of the participants expected to keep up with the workload of the intensive curriculum, but everyone left with new skills, new understandings of digital methodologies, and a new appreciation for the work required to build and sustain successful digital humanities projects.


The “Doing Digital History” Cohort (Photo courtesy of Karen Kossie-Chernyshev)

Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon led the group through a course designed to introduce historians, already established in their subject areas, to digital humanities scholarship, methods, and tools relevant to their own research and teaching in American history. Readings and discussions were coupled with demonstrations and hands-on work. Our participants created their own web domain, installed WordPress, and started blogging on Day 1. Megan Brett, Stephanie Grimes, Celeste Sharpe, and Spencer Roberts assisted throughout the institute by leading tutorials and supporting the participants. For example, Roberts created the “Historian’s Spreadsheet,” a guide to using simple functions in Excel for tidying data that was then widely circulated on Twitter and highlighted as a resource in the National Council on Public History’s weekly newsletter to its members.

“Doing Digital History” also featured instructors from RRCHNM and Mason’s History and Art History department who shared their digital humanities expertise with participants, including, Mike O’Malley, Lisa Rhody, Lincoln Mullen, and Joan Troyano. Fred Gibbs, formerly of Mason, returned from New Mexico to teach a day on text mining and Jeff McClurken visited from University of Mary Washington to lead a day on digitally-inflected pedagogy.

If you are interested in seeing how we crafted this curriculum, we invite you to review our schedule, read participants’ posts written during the institute, or browse the #doingdh14 tweetstream.

“Doing Digital History” was one of three institutes for advanced topics in the digital humanities funded by NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities to be run in 2014. Learn more about other grant programs at ODH, http://www.neh.gov/divisions/odh.

Art Historians, Rebuilding their Portfolios

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

RRCNHM hosted an enthusiastic group of 22 art historians, librarians, and museum professionals for “Rebuilding the Portfolio,” a digital art history institute sponsored by the Getty Foundation. The self-identified novice participants began the institute on July 8, 2014 nervous and worried about the workload, but emerged two weeks later as confident, digital ambassadors.

During the institute, nicknamed “bootcamp” by some of the participants, Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon led the cohort through an intense course designed to introduce art historians to digital humanities scholarship, methods, and tools, while also directly connecting with their own work in art history. Readings and discussions were coupled with demonstrations and hands-on work. Megan Brett, Stephanie Grimes, Celeste Sharpe, and Spencer Roberts drew on their own digital work as graduate students in the history and art history program by leading demonstrations and supporting the participants in countless ways.


Rebuilding the Portfolio cohort, annotated in ThingLink by participant, Gina Tarver

Each participant registered a new web domain of their own; installed Zotero, WordPress, and Omeka; and learned to annotate, plot maps, tidy data, and visualize that data in different forms. Personal reflections of Rebuilding the Portfolio participants were aggregated and are available on the course site, with help of RRCHNM’s PressForward plugin.

We were impressed by the ways that each participant began to re-think their research projects and teaching over the course of the institute. Everyone reconsidered the ways that digital techniques might help them analyze art history sources and teach core concepts in new ways, while also thinking concretely about reaching new audiences with their scholarship.

Rebuilding the Portfolio is one of three pilot projects, supported by the Getty Foundation this summer to increase the number of professional development opportunities for training art histories in digital humanities methods.

Follow #doingdah14 to read Rebuilding the Portfolio’s conversation, and to follow UCLA’s Beyond the Digitized Slide Library institute running this week and next.

Inside Higher Ed Blog Post on Online Education

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media graduate research assistants, Nate Sleeter and Celeste Sharpe, and education division director Kelly Schrum will collaborate on a series of blog posts for Inside Higher Ed on the possibilities for student-centered online learning in the humanities. Drawing on experiences from RRCHNM-developed online courses for teachers including Hidden in Plain Sight http://edchnm.gmu.edu/hidden/, the series of three posts will explore the possibilities of online courses in the humanities. As the authors write,

 

“We will share lessons learned about what online learning environments can offer students. Thinking beyond the MOOC-related hype, what opportunities exist in online education? Does online education push us to rethink and re-envision our approach to teaching and learning? How do we take advantage of online classes for teaching history?”

 

Given that these courses are increasingly offered by universities as options for students whose schedules might not permit weekly attendance in a traditional course the authors believe it is vitally important to move beyond notions like “flipping the classroom” and the often acrimonious debate over MOOCs to serious discussions over online pedagogy in the humanities. Read the first post of the series here: http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/beyond-flipping-classrooms.

Come work with us! RRCHNM is hiring a Linux Systems Administrator

Friday, June 13th, 2014

RRCHNM is seeking a full-time Systems Administrator to maintain and grow the technical infrastructure of the center that includes 23 servers and a complex set of networked connections, storage, databases, software, programming languages, and operating systems. The Systems Administrator must also be able to support dozens of computers used by the center’s staff, and ensure the security and uptime of a major technical operation. Details can be found here.

Announcing the PressForward Plugin

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM), the team that brought you Zotero and Omeka, announces the release of its newest open source digital tool, the PressForward Plugin. A tool for aggregating, curating and publishing content from the web, PressForward integrates an RSS / Atom feed reader and editorial workflow directly into the WordPress dashboard. By innovating the use of both web feeds and the WordPress dashboard, PressForward will change the way individuals and online communities collect, discuss, and share open access content they discover on the web.

Available for download from WordPress.org or installation via your site’s Plugins menu, PressForward facilitates collecting content published elsewhere on the web, discussing it with collaborators, and formatting and publishing that content without ever leaving the WordPress dashboard. Through its streamlined editorial process, PressForward increases the capacity for individuals and communities to create sustainable, curated publications and develop engaged audiences for their work.

PressForward improves upon existing feed reader applications by providing a flexible and integrated editorial interface. With PressForward, web feeds bring content directly to your dashboard, where you can review an item, mark it for further consideration, and publish it for others to read. For those who want to share individual works as they discover them, PressForward’s bookmarklet captures content with simply a button that can be added to any browser’s toolbar. Unlike other comparable plugins, PressForward emphasizes community and collaboration by including a discussion feature that allows team members to comment on each item brought in via RSS feed or the bookmarklet. PressForward also enables responsible attribution by retaining original source information and providing an automatic redirect.

Powering the popular site Digital Humanities Now, an online publication with more than fourteen thousand readers, PressForward has made it possible for a small editorial group to sift through the material produced by more than 700 RSS feeds, discuss it with teams of volunteers, and format and distribute features, news, and announcements twice a week. According to project director Joan Fragaszy Troyano, “scholars and professionals stay current with their field by monitoring the web as much as they do by reading formal publications. PressForward enables a community to build a lightweight, collaboratively-edited publication both sourced from, and published on, the open web.”

The PressForward Plugin is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, as one part of a research project aimed at helping researchers discover and share valuable, informal scholarship – often called gray literature – that is published on the web. In the coming months, the PressForward team will support new users of the plugin by hosting workshops, providing a support forum on wordpress.org, and delivering presentations to groups of academics and publishing and library professionals.

For more information about the PressForward Project, plugin, and affiliated publications, please contact Stephanie Westcott at gro.d1411474710rawro1411474710fsser1411474710p@ofn1411474710i1411474710.

Congratulations Celeste Sharpe!

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Department of History and Art History at George Mason University has named Celeste Sharpe as the inaugural recipient of the Joseph and Dorothy Censer Fellowship. The fellowship was established by Drs. Jack and Jane Censer, longtime faculty members in the department, to recognize an outstanding graduate student who has made valuable contributions to the work of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

Ms. Sharpe is a third-year Ph.D. student specializing in twentieth-century U.S. cultural history. Her dissertation, which will include a digital component, is titled “They Need You!: Disability, Visual Culture, and the Poster Child, 1945-1980.” She has worked at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media as a graduate research assistant and has contributed to several projects, including the website for the Society for the History of Children and Youth and the online courses Hidden in Plain Sight and Virginia Studies.

When informed that Ms. Sharpe had been named as the recipient, Jack Censer remarked, “Believing deeply in higher education and in history, the late Joseph and Dorothy Censer would be elated to know that they are assisting a young historian in studying and producing history in the intellectually sophisticated environment of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.”

(Cross-posted from the Department of History and Art History)

 

Register now for the RRCHNM 20th Anniversary Conference

Monday, April 28th, 2014

You can now register for the RRCHNM 20th Anniversary Conference at http://chnm.gmu.edu/20th/

The conference is a free two-day event on November 14 and 15, 2014, at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus, that combines collaborative work, presentations and discussions, and unconference sessions.

The first day will be spent hacking the history of RRCHNM, working collectively to tell the story of how projects were created and what they tell us about digital history’s past.

The second day will feature short talks by invited guests, each followed by extended discussion, and unconference­-style breakout sessions. Edward Ayers, Brett Bobley, and Bethany Nowviskie will share their thoughts on the future of digital humanities centers, while Tim Hitchcock, William Thomas, Kathryn Tomasek and a collective of GMU graduate students will offer visions of the future of digital history.

Please register to reserve your spot at the RRCHNM 20th

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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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