Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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…)

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 (more…)

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:

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 (more…)

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 (more…)

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 (more…)

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 (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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