Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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 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, 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.d1414271463rawro1414271463fsser1414271463p@ofn1414271463i1414271463.

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

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

Introducing the Proceedings of THATCamp!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

THATCamp, The Humanities and Technology Camp, is an open, inexpensive meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels meet to learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot: it is a well-known and popular global unconference. The Proceedings of THATCamp is a wholly automatic collection of and portal to blog posts from around the THATCamp website network.


Because each THATCamp is organized independently and has an individual site on the THATCamp network, the Proceedings offers an easy way to view all the activity happening at THATCamps around the world. Posts are viewable by date, by topic, or by how often they have been “favorited” by THATCamp participants across the network. Tweets and pictures from the Flickr User Group also are aggregated in the Proceedings.

The launch of the Proceedings features the most favorited posts since April 2008. The time will be updated periodically, to feature the most favorited posts in the last quarter or trimester.

The Proceedings utilizes the features of both WordPress Multisite and a customized version of BuddyPress on the site. Aggregation for the Proceedings is made possible by the WordPress MU Sitewide Tags plugin, the FeedWordPress plugin, and a custom plugin that relies on BuddyPress’s favoriting features.

The web developers for the Proceedings were Boone Gorges and Aram Zucker-Scharff, while Kim Nguyen designed the theme. Amanda French, the THATCamp coordinator, served as chief editor and project manager. Congratulations to the whole team!

Discover the Histories of the National Mall

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Why is this space called a “Mall?” Did cattle ever roam the Mall? How have protests changed over time?

mallhistory_homeVisitors will find answers to those questions, and more, in the new website, Histories of the National Mall, developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media with funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities. Access from a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop and begin discovering the rich history that shaped the National Mall.

The National Mall has a history of its own that is invisible when walking its paths. Most visitors see what appears to be a finished product: a deliberately planned landscape with memorials, monuments, and museums symbolizing the history and values of the United States. Designed at George Washington’s request by Pierre L’Enfant in 1790, the Mall in its earliest days was a messy place where transportation arteries and commercial markets existed. Lively neighborhoods bordered the Mall. Near the Capitol, pens held enslaved people and captured freemen like Solomon Northrup, awaiting sale to traders. Only after the 1880s did the Mall begin to transform into a place for commemoration and memorialization.

Now known as a place of protest and political expression, the Mall also has a long tradition as a public park and place of leisure for Washingtonians and tourists who strolled winding pathways in gardens and learned from collections in the Smithsonian’s galleries. Citizens, government officials, and local businesspeople have shaped the history of this well-known public space—and very few know its history. offers 4 major sections to help visitors learn more about their National Mall:

  • Mapsmap_layers act as a wayfaring guide on today’s Mall and an entry into geolocated historical sources that appear as pins. Visitors may select from 8 historical maps that show how the Mall’s landscapes and built environment looked in different eras. When walking on the Mall, users see a star on the map that indicates their own location. Choosing a historical map layer then reveals to the user events and sources from that time period located nearby.
  • Explorations are short historical episodes of Mall history that begin with a question related to the themes of politics and protest, design and monuments, or work and play. Each question is answered with historical sources from Washington, DC area libraries, archives, and museums. Users may browse by question or theme.
  • Past Events offer users a quick chronology of significant Mall-related events.
  • People provides short biographies of individuals who shaped the Mall’s past and present.

Histories of the National Mall is the newest addition to RRCHNM’s portfolio containing 20 years of award-winning digital history content.

Welcome, Wikipedia Affiliate

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

We are very pleased indeed to announce the appointment of Gary M. Greenbaum as Wikipedia Affiliate at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Mr. Greenbaum is an experienced Wikipedia editor and administrator who, under the username “Wehwalt,” has taken over a hundred Wikipedia articles to Featured Article status. Mr. Greenbaum has frequently contributed significantly to history-related Wikipedia articles on such topics as President Nixon’s Checkers speech, William Jennings Bryan’s Cross of Gold speech during the 1896 presidential election, and the life and career of the Civil War abolitionist congressional representative Thaddeus Stevens.

During his one-year affiliation with RRCHNM, Mr. Greenbaum will conduct scholarly research using the library resources of George Mason University in order to improve the accuracy and reliability at least 25 Wikipedia articles on historical topics, especially articles on historical figures with a Virginia connection such as Harry F. Byrd. Mr. Greenbaum will work in consultation with Professor Mills Kelly during his affiliate year.

The Wikipedia Affiliate position at RRCHNM has been created in partnership with The Wikipedia Library project, whose mission is to help active Wikipedia editors gain access to the vital reliable sources that they need to do their work. The University of California at Riverside is also planning to host a “Wikipedia Visiting Scholar,” and we hope that other universities will join this effort to improve Wikipedia’s reliability and accuracy by helping to provide Wikipedia editors with access to scholarly resources.

Join the Digital Humanities Now FeedFest, and help us keep our RSS feeds up to date!

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Amanda Morton

Using the Pressforward plugin, DHNow pulls content from a collection of RSS feeds and allows Editors-at-Large to preview, sort, and nominate content for the editorial staff to review. In order to keep DHNow as current and as involved in conversations within the DH community as possible, we rely on readers to nominate RSS feeds to add to the plugin via a link on DHNow.

In the wake of the redesign and reorganization of, however, we have the opportunity to more directly engage with DHNow’s community of readers and twitter followers. This week, beginning on February 24, we are calling for blog and resource submissions via twitter (@dhnow), as well as through the submission form on the DHNow homepage. We’re all hands on deck to take your suggestions, put them into the plugin, and make DHNow more current and more reflective of our readership’s interests.

Digital Humanities Now works best when members of the community jump in as Editors-at-Large and as part of a twitter community that retweets and disseminates posts. We hope that this call for submissions will help us engage with our established readers and twitter followers, and that it will expand our awareness of and participation in the larger DH community. We also hope that this push will allow the content on DHNow to become more representative of on-going work and opportunities in the digital humanities. So what are your favorite sites for DH news, work, and debates? Let us know

New Online Resource: Sea of Liberty

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

From the Magna Carta to the Arab Spring, the quest for greater liberty and self-government has shaped history. Through a partnership between the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, educators and students now have access to liberty-related resources through the Sea of Liberty — an interactive online tool for teaching, exploring, and sharing the power of Jefferson’s ideas.

solVisitors to Sea of Liberty can explore documents, letters, artwork, photographs, and videos related to the ideas of liberty, freedom, and self-governance. The core of the collection includes images and quotes from the Monticello exhibit, The Boisterous Sea of Liberty. The exhibit traces the development and ongoing influence of Jefferson’s transformational ideas about liberty, particularly those expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Sea of Liberty expands on the exhibit, providing new relevant content and tools to explore it.

Registered users can build their own collections and then use the items to create activities and projects. A special teacher dashboard allows educators to create and assign activities, or “challenges,” that focus students on specific themes or objects in the collection. Students and the public respond to challenges by using items from their collection to create digital posters, word clouds, timelines, and digital stories. The projects can be shared to inspire others and promote dialogue. In addition, educators have access to resources related to teaching with primary sources, teaching historical thinking, and encouraging digital literacy.

Teachers contributed to the website’s development as part of Monticello’s Liberty Today Initiative, a series of summer institutes with educators from across the U.S. and beyond. Generous support of this project was provided by The Coca-Cola Foundation.

Applications Open for Doing Digital History, NEH Summer Institute

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Join us August 4-15, 2014 for Doing Digital History, a summer institute for mid-career American historians, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities, run by RRCHNM faculty and visiting instructors.

Doing Digital History is designed to fill a much-needed gap for 25 established historians who need instruction and a professional learning community to engage with new media methods and tools.

We seek applications from a diverse pool of faculty, public historians, archivists, librarians, museum professionals, and independent scholars specializing in US history, who have had very limited or no training in using digital methods and tools, or in computing, and who lack a supportive digital community at their home institutions.

Take a peek at our proposed schedule, and apply today. Applications will be open until March 15, 2014.

Applications Open for “Rebuilding the Portfolio: DH for Art Historians”

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Join us July 7-18, 2014 for Rebuilding the Portfolio: DH for Art Historians, a summer institute at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History in New Media,supported by the Getty Foundation.

Rebuilding the Portfolio: DH for Art Historians is designed for 20 art historians, from different stages of their careers and from varied backgrounds, including faculty, curators, art librarians, and archivists who are eager to explore the digital turn in the humanities.

We seek applications from individuals who have had very limited or no training in using digital methods and tools, or in computing.

Take a peek at our proposed schedule, and apply today. Applications will be open until March 15, 2014.

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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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