Archive for the ‘News’ Category

George Mason University is Hiring a Digital Historian

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The George Mason University, Department of History and Art History invites applications for a tenure-track position in Digital History at the rank of Assistant Professor. While the historical field is open, candidates must have the ability to teach digital theory and methods at the undergraduate and graduate level, including a graduate course in programming (PHP, Python, Perl, Javascript, XML, for example). The teaching load is 2-2. Ph.D. must be in hand by August 2014.

George Mason University is a public research university located 14 miles from Washington, D.C., with approximately 30,000 students. The Department of History and Art History has a strong record of scholarly research and is home to the award-winning Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. The department also has the largest M.A. program in the country and a nationally ranked Ph.D. program.

Special Instructions to Applicants
For full consideration, please apply for position number F5343z at http://jobs.gmu.edu/. Complete the online faculty application and upload a letter of interest, CV, and a writing sample and/or a link to a digital project. Letters of reference should be sent separately to Professor Paula Petrik, Chair, Digital History Search, Department of History and Art History, George Mason University, MSN 3G1, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. Review of applications will begin on November 15, 2013, and continue until the position is filled.

 

PressForward Editors-at-Large | DH Fellow’s Blog

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Amanda Morton (2nd year Digital History Fellow)

This semester the second year Digital History Fellows are sticking with one of the three divisions at RRCHNM (Research, Education, Public Projects) and participating in selected projects within those divisions. Some of us are coming in at the start of a new set of projects, while others are joining projects already in progress. There’s a certain benefit, I think, to being able to join a project in mid-flow and provide both an extra pair of hands and the type of feedback that comes from a fresh look at ongoing processes. By essentially acting as full-time floaters, we can also lend work hours and a different set of opinions to changes already set in motion,

I’ve been assigned to the Research Division this semester, directed by Sean Takats, and am currently spending the majority of my time working under Joan Fragaszy Troyano on the PressForward project. This project received an influx of graduate research assistants this semester, most of whom were, like myself, new to the division and to PressForward, and needed to be introduced to the way the different parts of the project are managed, particularly the weekly management of Digital Humanities Now.

A PressForward publication, Digital Humanities Now is a community-driven aggregator that calls upon volunteers to nominate content, then curates and publishes the best blog posts and news stories coming out of the DH community. One element of the management equation for DHNow, the way Editors-in-Chief communicate with and organize information for the Editors-at-Large — volunteers who nominate content for Digital Humanities Now — needed to be re-worked and streamlined to accommodate the addition of several new Graduate Research assistants to the project. This effort was also undertaken with an eye toward making the management of Editors-at-Large easier to share with groups using DHNow as a model for their own projects.

As a DH Fellow I was able to lend a hand to this redesign, working alongside Jeri Wieringa, one of the original PressForward GRAs who has a great deal of experience working with Editors-at-Large and organizing the associated data. The redesign that launched at the end of September includes a new section of the DHNow website that we’ve called our “Editors’ Corner,” designed to help Editors-at-Large choose and nominate content using the PressForward plugin, keep track of the weeks they’ve volunteered to edit, and provide feedback on the entire process. The changes we’ve made also streamline the way the Editors-at-Large system works on the administration side, automating emails and organizing form data, as well as utilizing bulk-upload plugins to make new user creation for the DHNow site (required to allow Editors-at-Large to nominate items using the PressForward plugin) faster and easier to manage.

This streamlining involved a variety of adjustments to the existing processes, from simple changes like modifying the structure of the Editor-at-Large sign-up form to give each week its own column, to more complicated changes that involved writing and/or modifying Google Apps Scripts to automate informational emails and confirmation messages.

Additionally, we are in the process of creating sets of instructions for using this new system, as well as the portion of the DHNow site dedicated to Editors-at-Large (DHNow’s Editors-at-Large Corner), so that projects with similar requirements can adapt these techniques to their own needs. DHNow has and continues to rely on free and open access tools such as Google Spreadsheets and Forms, in addition to free WordPress plugins. Our goal in this is to enable other projects to easily access and adopt our processes for creating community run, aggregated publications.

In the end, we’ve created a system that we hope will be an accessible and easy to use example of how other groups or organizations might manage a similar project. I’m delighted to have had the chance to participate in this process, and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t volunteered to be an Editor-at-Large for DHNow to sign up now, and if you have, sign up again and check out the new Editors-at-Large Corner!

Getty Foundation Funds a Digital Humanities Summer Institute for Art Historians at RRCHNM

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

The Getty Foundation recently awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media a grant to organize and run a digital humanities summer institute for art historians in 2014. “Digital Humanities for Art Historians” will target art historians, from graduate students, to mid-career and senior scholars, from varied backgrounds, including faculty, curators, and established art librarians and archivists who are eager to move more deeply into the digital turn in the humanities.

Recognizing a significant need in this area, the Getty Foundation is sponsoring this project as part of a pilot initiative to support training workshops in digital art history. The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the greater understanding and preservation of the visual arts in Los Angeles and throughout the world.

Project Co-Directors, Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon are thrilled to be working with the Getty Foundation for the first time through this initiative and to be addressing issues specific to art historians together with fellow members of GMU’s History and Art History Department.

Applications for this summer institute will be announced in early 2014. Watch the RRCHNM blog, @chnm on Twitter, and major art history-related listservs for the call.

RRCHNM Welcomes Stephanie Westcott

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media are very happy to welcome Stephanie Westcott to our ranks as a Research Assistant Professor. Stephanie is a historian of U.S. popular culture, with a recent dissertation from University of Wisconsin, Madison titled “Producing Panic: Media, Morality, and American Sexuality, 1945–1970.” She spent last year teaching in the Democracy and justice Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. In addition to her research and teaching background, Westcott brings to RRCHNM her extensive and impressive professional experience working in the publishing industry at a small independent press and in public history. She will serve as a new project director on PressForward, working with Joan Troyano and Lisa Rhody.

Welcome Stephanie!

RRCHNM Graduate Students Organize Inaugural Rails Girls DH

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Guest post by RRCHNM Graduate Research Assistants, Jeri Wieringa and Celeste Sharpe

As women graduate students working in digital humanities, we know first-hand the gender gap in our field. With few women programmers working in the digital humanities, and a lack of opportunities generally for women learning to code, there is a serious need for creative solutions to these systemic problems. Building on current conversations about the cultural and structural obstacles that make it difficult for women to learn to code, we decided to organize a workshop where women interested in programming could come together and learn.

rails_girls_dhOn September 7, forty-five people came together and participated in Rails Girls Digital Humanities at George Mason University. This one-day, intensive workshop combined the intellectual pursuits of humanities scholars with the structure of Rails Girls, an international movement of free workshops that introduce women to technology and programming through Ruby on Rails. This combination offers both an entry point for understanding the technology behind web applications as well as an opportunity to grow a community of academic women interested in the code that powers digital humanities scholarship.

Thirty women–undergraduate and graduate students, librarians and archivists, scholars and professors–from the DC metro area, Virginia, Boston, and California comprised our inaugural group. Nine coaches guided the participants throughout the workshop: Annie Swafford, Brandon Walsh, Jeremy Boggs, and Wayne Graham from the University of Virginia’s Scholars’ Lab; Jim Smith from University of Maryland’s Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities; and Patrick Murray-John from Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media along with local professional developers Jason Wieringa, Karen Gillison, and Sean Marcia. Together, the participants and coaches hacked their way through a day of talks and coding sprints, building a mapping application and discussing various way to incorporate code with humanities scholarship.

We are very grateful for the enthusiastic support we received from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, the Association for Computers in the Humanities, George Mason’s History and Art History Department and Provost’s Office, the American Association of University Women, and GitHub. Their support, as well as the positive responses from both participants and coaches, has reinforced our commitment to this approach for creating coding opportunities for women in the humanities. Building on this experience, we will further refine the model of Rails Girls and plan to offer additional workshops to continue to expand the opportunities for academic women interested in code.

Remembering with the September 11 Digital Archive

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

During this day of remembrance, we urge you to browse through some of the materials collected by the September 11th Digital Archive, a collaborative effort between RRCNHM and the American Social History Project at the City University of New York to preserve and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. 911home Officially launched in 2002, the Archive is among the earliest online collecting projects that championed the crowdsourcing of materials from anyone effected by September 11 and interested in sharing their stories, photographs, digital art, audio recordings, documents, or videos.

The site’s blog is highlighting special collections within the digital archive, groups like the Madison Area Peace Coalition that organized soon after September 11 and collaborated with other groups with similar objectives. These source materials offer researchers an opportunity to trace the organization and growth of one post-911 political movement.

With over 150,000 digital items, the Archive is large and has become increasingly challenging to manage. To help preserve this valuable collection of unique user-generated content and specialized collections, the project team is working with a Saving America’s Treasures grant to stabilize the current infrastructure and move all of the collections to the Omeka platform. Digital Archivist Jim Safely, is spearheading those efforts and is making progress by carefully and slowly transferring and testing the migration of every item in the project to ensure that it will be preserved and more accessible for years to come.

Stay tuned to the September 11 Digital Archive blog for additional collection highlights and updates on the migration process.

Digital History Fellows At RRCHNM

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Monday Meeting 8_26_13

The first Monday all-staff meeting of the year at RRCHNM was devoted to an orientation for the fourteen Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) who will be working at the Center in 2013-14. GRAs are a key part of the Center’s staff, working in a range of capacities on projects in all three divisions – Education, Public Projects, and Research — and in some cases on multiple projects in different divisions (watch for future posts describing exactly what they are doing).

The second cohort of Digital History Fellows are part of this group; you can find them and the earlier cohort here. Supported by the Provost, this program admits three graduate students each year, who each receive two years of funding at $20,000 p.a., in addition to three years of funding from the History Department, and undertake a practicum course for credit at RRCHNM each semester for two years.

The Fellows program is as an extension of the central role of digital history in the PhD program at GMU. Set up as ‘a PhD with a difference,’ it requires all students to take two core courses, Clio Wired: An Introduction to History and New Media Credits, and Creating History in New Media, which provide exposure to the ways that digital tools and approaches are reshaping historical study, and, for those interested, a pathway into developing a digital history project. (My predecessor, Dan Cohen, described the development of these courses in AHA Perspectives in 2009). RRCHNM’s role in the Digital History Fellows program reflects its commitment to helping develop future generations of digital history scholars by providing experience working in a digital history center, on a variety of projects, and the opportunity to reflect on that work and develop a digital portfolio.

Syllabi for the practicums can be found on the Fellows blog, where you can also read posts by last year’s cohort, and the first posts by our new Fellows. Both groups will also be posting to the RRCHNM blog several times this year, as well as each tweeting one day at the Center.

A final cohort of DH Fellows will be admitted in Fall 2014, but with the grant from the Provost coming to an end in 2015, they will receive only a single year of additional funding and undertake just a two-semester practicum. Students interested in applying to the GMU History PhD program and being part of that cohort of DH Fellows, should consult the information on the department website.  Applications close January 15.

Stephen Robertson

RRCHNM Welcomes Lisa Rhody

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media are happy to welcome Lisa Rhody to our ranks as a Research Assistant Professor. Lisa comes to us having completed a doctorate in English at the University of Maryland at the end of 2012. Her dissertation made use of computational analysis to explore the ekphrastic work of twentieth-century female poets to challenge widely held critical assumptions about the genre.

At RRCHNM, Rhody will be engaged on several different projects. First, in the Public Projects Division, she continues the work she began on a part time basis several months ago, guiding the programming for the Institute of Museum and Library Service’s annual WebWise meeting. This conference brings together cutting edge digital work from the nation’s libraries, archives, museums, and science centers. Second, in conjunction with the year-long planning that goes into making WebWise a success, Rhody is also contributing to a number of institutional planning and digital strategy projects. Together this work places her at the heart of the Center’s efforts to encourage innovative digital cultural heritage work. Third, Rhody will serve as the co-editor of the Journal of Digital Humanities, the flagship publication of the PressForward project. This work will bring Rhody’s insights to the Research Division and will capitalize on her years of experience with digital editing projects. Finally, Rhody will join a host of other faculty and staff in the ongoing efforts to share and support our digital tools. In sum, Rhody will be at the forefront of the Center’s efforts to interface with digital humanities scholars and the larger cultural heritage community.

Welcome, Lisa!

Lisa Rhody blogs at http://www.lisarhody.com

One Week | One Tool Team Launches Serendip-o-matic

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

After five days and nights of intense collaboration, the One Week | One Tool digital humanities team has unveiled its web application: Serendip-o-matic <http://serendipomatic.org>. Unlike conventional search tools, this “serendipity engine” takes in any text, such as an article, song lyrics, or a bibliography. It then extracts key terms, delivering similar results from the vast online collections of the Digital Public Library of America, Europeana, and Flickr Commons. Because Serendip-o-matic asks sources to speak for themselves, users can step back and discover connections they never knew existed. The team worked to re-create that moment when a friend recommends an amazing book, or a librarian suggests a new source. It’s not search, it’s serendipity.
serendip-o-matic

Serendip-o-matic works for many different users. Students looking for inspiration can use one source as a springboard to a variety of others. Scholars can pump in their bibliographies to help enliven their current research or to get ideas for a new project. Bloggers can find open access images to illustrate their posts. Librarians and museum professionals can discover a wide range of items from other institutions and build bridges that make their collections more accessible. In addition, millions of users of RRCHNM’s Zotero can easily run their personal libraries through Serendip-o-matic.

Serendip-o-matic is easy to use and freely available to the public. Software developers may expand and improve the open-source code, available on GitHub. The One Week | One Tool team has also prepared ways for additional archives, libraries, and museums to make their collections available to Serendip-o-matic.

A team of twelve dynamic scholars, librarians, and students conceived and built Serendip-o-matic during the One Week | One Tool Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and hosted by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Twelve strangers worked toward a common goal and stepped into unfamiliar roles. “The intense process isn’t just about rapid prototyping — it’s about building rapid trust,” reflected Mia Ridge, the lead of the design/development team. The group members learned new skills that they will take home and share with their colleagues around the world.

To learn more about Serendip-o-matic, visit, <http://serendiptomatic.org>. For more information about the process and the team, see <http://www.oneweekonetool.org/>, or follow #owot on Twitter.

Another Week | Another Tool Begins

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

This week, RRCHNM is once again hosting the One Week | One Tool Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The big question for this week is can a dozen scholars, students, and librarians build a digital humanities tool in one week? And if so, what will they learn in the process? Participants were selected in a competitive process from an international pool of over thirty applicants. While the tool remains under wraps until Friday, August 2nd, the team is sharing details about their collaborative work process.

To decide what to build, the team engaged in an open brainstorming process and nominated software application ideas to meet the needs of humanities researchers and educators. They then invited public feedback to inform their decision-making. Nearly one hundred people posted comments and voted for their favorite ideas. (Although the poll has closed, see results at http://oneweekonetool.ideascale.com). “I was surprised by the number of engaged commentators actively watching what we build,” explains Meghan Frazer, a digital resources curator from Ohio State University whom the group selected to be their project co-manager. Tom Scheinfeldt, the RRCHNM director-at-large who organized OWOT, describes it as “a generative event: it’s live, public, and involves the creativity of people both inside and outside the room” through the power of social media.

The group divided themselves into smaller work teams to focus on design, development, and outreach. Mia Ridge, the OWOT lead developer and a doctoral candidate at the U.K.’s Open University, led the participants in sketching out the software architecture. “Sketching out an idea,” she observes, “is a great way to make sure everyone has a more concrete picture of what the group is talking about, and for me, it’s also a quick test of the technical viability of the idea.” While the outreach team collaboratively wrote a vision for the tool, members of the design and development team identified a common software language for this highly agile development project. “Getting 12 strangers to remember each others’ names—let alone blend skills across teams to make something entirely new—means we hardly have time to eat, let alone sleep,” remarks Brian Croxall, another OWOT project co-manager and a digital strategist and lecturer at Emory University.

As the team scrambles to finish their code and outreach preparations for the Friday August 2nd launch, follow their progress via the Twitter hashtag #owot.

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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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