Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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 <>. 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 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, <>. For more information about the process and the team, see <>, 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 “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.

NEH Funds RRCHNM’s “Doing Digital History” Summer Institute

Monday, July 29th, 2013

The National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media one of three grants in their Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities program. With this generous support, the Public Projects division will organize and host, “Doing Digital History: An Institute for Mid-Career American Historians” during the summer of 2014.

“Doing Digital History” begins to fill a much-needed gap for established historians who need instruction and a professional learning community to engage with new media methods and tools. We will seek applications from historians 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.

NEH IADTH grants support a wide range of training programs for scholars and advanced graduate students to broaden and extend their knowledge of digital humanities. Through these programs, NEH seeks to increase the number of humanities scholars using digital technology in their research and to broadly disseminate knowledge about advanced technology tools and methodologies relevant to the humanities.

Planning for “Doing Digital History” will commence this fall, and a call for applications will be announced in early 2014. Watch the RRCHNM blog, @chnm Twitter account, and major H-Net listservs for the call for applications.

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow along with the progress of this week’s One Week | One Tool IADTH on twittter (#owot). Wins 2013 AASLH Award of Merit

Monday, July 22nd, 2013 is honored to receive an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).

AASLHThe AASLH Leadership in History Award, now in its 68th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. is a free online resource for K-12 teachers that has been called “a ‘non-negotiable’ — a tool so valuable no history teacher should try teaching without it” (History Tech Blog). Originally funded by a 2007 U.S. Department of Education contract, the website welcomes over 1.7 million visitors annually from all 50 states and more than 150 countries. While the majority of users are K-12 teachers, the site is also a favorite of librarians, social studies methods instructors, homeschoolers, and public historians.

Presentation of the awards will be made during the 2013 AASLH Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 20.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and
local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena.

Post-Doc Opportunity with PressForward

Monday, July 1st, 2013

The PressForward project at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) now invites applications for a one-year position (with the possibility of renewal) at the rank of Research Assistant Professor. The successful candidate will work with the project directors to manage the publication of Digital Humanities Now and the Journal of Digital Humanities, as well as to perform project outreach and to experiment with new forms of open-access digital publishing.

A Ph.D. in history or a closely related field is required. The ideal candidate will also possess some or all of the following qualities:

  • Experience in digital humanities, digital libraries, or digital publishing;
  • Strong technical background in new technology and new media, especially web publishing;
  • Familiarity with scholarly communication or publication;
  • Experience teaching digital tools and leading workshops;
  • Project management, administrative and/or organizational experience; and
  • Experience with fostering and sustaining scholarly communities.

Applications must be submitted via the George Mason University employment site (position number F8860z) by July 12, and the successful candidate is expected to begin work by September 1, 2013. Please direct all questions regarding the position to *protected email*.

RRCHNM Announces Stephen Robertson As Its New Director

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University is delighted to announce that Stephen Robertson will become the new director of the center. Robertson joins RRCHNM and Mason from the History Department at the University of Sydney, where he has been since 2000.

Prior to the University of Sydney, Robertson completed his PhD at Rutgers University and was a post-doctoral fellow at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago (1997-98). He also taught for a semester at Massey University in New Zealand. Stephen has won a number of teaching awards, including a Carrick Australian Award for University Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2006 and a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008. At Sydney, he also served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Matters, and coordinator of the American Studies Program.

Robertson is well known in digital history for his work on Digital Harlem, which he created with his collaborators in the Black Metropolis project. Digital Harlem won the American Historical Association’s Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History and the ABC-CLIO Online History Award of the American Library Association in 2010. Robertson’s personal history with George Mason University and Roy Rosenzweig go further back: from 1998-99, he was the JNG Finley Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History and Art History at Mason.

“It is wonderful to be able to pass the baton to Stephen, who shares with the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media a profound interest in the democratization of history through digital media and technology, and whose scholarship and digital work aligns so well with that vision,” said Dan Cohen, the outgoing director of RRCHNM. Department Chair Brian Platt added, “Stephen brings an impressive set of strengths to this position. He is perfectly suited to work with the staff at the center to push it in new directions while remaining true to its founding principles and goals.”

“My introduction to digital history came during my fellowship at George Mason and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to return and help the Center continue to pursue the vision, so powerfully elaborated by Roy and Dan, of working with educators, libraries and museums, and scholars to develop new ways to preserve and present history online, to reach broad audiences, and to encourage popular participation in efforts to understand the past,” Robertson said.

Stephen Robertson will join the center and the department in July.

Wikimédia France Research Award 2013

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

The first winner of the Wikimedia France Research Award is…

Can history be open source ? Wikipedia and the future of the past by Roy Rosenzweig, published in The Journal of American History in 2006.

This choice was made from thirty scientific publications on Wikimedia projects and free knowledge, directly submitted by the Wikimedia community. Among these publications, a jury of researchers working on these topics selected 5 finalists. Each Wikimedian, along with the jury members, was encouraged to give their opinion and vote among these five finalists to determine the most relevant.

Jury members and wikimedians for this publication described Roy’s article as  a “very stimulating read” and Roy as ” a pioneer in digital history, incorporating new digital media and technology with history to explore new possibilities to reach a larger and diverse public audience.”, with significant impact in the field of digital history, almost 160 citations in other scientific publications, according to Google Scholar.

You can view the full publication here :
and the dedicated website :

Wikimédia France has decided to award the price of € 2,500 to the Center for History and New Media, founded in 1994 by Roy Rosenzweig.

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is honored to receive the award on behalf of Roy Rosenzweig.

THATCamp CHNM 2013

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

The Humanities and Technology Camp is a free, open unconference where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot. Since its founding at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University in 2008, more than 105 THATCamps have been held in places all around the world, helping more than 6000 students, scholars, and professionals improve their skills in the digital humanities while meeting terrific, smart people from all kinds of fields and professions.

The sixth annual THATCamp CHNM will take place June 7-8, 2013 at the Roy Center for History and New Media in Fairfax, VA. Spots are still available, and the whole event is free. At an unconference, the program is mostly created on the first day by the participants themselves, but pre-scheduled events include a Wikipedia “editathon” where participants edit Wikipedia, a manuscript “transcribathon” where participants transcribe and tag digital historical documents, and workshops on topics such as how to use JSTOR Data for Research to analyze a massive archive of scholarly journal articles. A “Maker Challenge” will offer THATCamp CHNM participants prizes such as an iPad Mini for any original project begun that weekend.

Register now while space is still available. Everyone is welcome, and THATCamp is notoriously fun, productive, and collegial.

Popular Romance Project Receives NEH Funding

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce that the Popular Romance Project has received an America’s Media Makers Production Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Public Programs.

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 1.32.36 PM

This collaborative, multimedia, cross-platform project—including a documentary film, a symposium, and a national library program—is designed to explore popular romance broadly, examining change over time in the content, art, business, and reception of romance novels. Taking love and its stories seriously, wherever they may be found, the Popular Romance Project will spark a lively, thoughtful conversation between fans, authors, scholars, and the general public about the writing, production, and consumption of popular romance, including its history and transformation in the digital age.

The project blog, launched in February 2012, receives more than 125,000 visitors and 500,000 page views annually from across the U.S. and from more than 140 countries. The blog features video interviews and essays by scholars, authors, readers, librarians, and industry insiders. With this funding, we will develop an expanded website—including hundreds of new video interviews and blog posts, games that explore branding and marketing, and archival materials—as well as a mobile version.

The project aims to bring relevant scholarship from a wide range of disciplines, including English, history, popular culture, folklore, digital humanities, communication, media studies, business, marketing, psychology, anthropology, and sociology to a mass audience in an engaging, accessible way and to bring new audiences into the conversation about the nature of love, romance, and their expression in novels and popular culture more broadly.

medieval romance

In partnership with filmmaker Laurie Kahn (Blueberry Hill Productions), the Library of Congress Center for the Book, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office, the project has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mass Humanities, Romance Writers of America, and the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University as well as donations from individuals around the world. Learn more.

Another Successful WebWise Conference

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Once again this year, RRCHNM collaborated with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to plan and produce the agency’s signature WebWise conference,, held March 6-8, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Due to the Center’s experience with unconference formats, RRCHNM’s WebWise team— Sheila Brennan, Sharon Leon, Lisa Rhody, and Tom Scheinfeldt— was asked to reorient WebWise toward a more participatory format, one that allowed conference participants more opportunities to ask questions, to engage with potential collaborators, to learn new skills, and to develop more fully early-stage project ideas.

To meet the challenge, WebWise2013 modeled in its format the conference’s theme: “Putting the Learner at the Center” by engaging conference participants at every planning stage. The WebWise 2013 committee eliminated traditional plenary sessions in favor of more workshops; expanded upon the exchange of new ideas through project demonstrations; and facilitated working groups where participants could develop new collaborations and initiatives, and revise existing ones. To bring the conference theme full circle, RRCHNM recruited keynote speaker Audrey Watters, who asked the crowd: “Whose learning is it anyway?”

The more hands-on format of WebWise 2013 is most evident in the number of opportunities this year’s participants had to learn a new skill, to connect with other IMLS grantees, to share their ongoing work, and to receive feedback and constructive comments on new project ideas. For example, WebWise offered:

  • 10 workshops (one was canceled due to storm-related travel) covering topics that participants identified as most desirable. Through online social idea polling, the WebWise committee ascertained topics that conference goers felt were most desirable, and recruited leaders for workshops on topics such as: designing maker spaces, STEM in video game design, engaging visitors with social project evaluation, project management, and digital preservation.
  • 9 project demonstrations that offered more time for questions and answers. Converting the project demonstrations from short, coffee break presentations to longer sessions afforded participants more opportunities to listen, to ask questions, and to learn from the challenges and successes from current and exemplary IMLS-funded projects.
  • 25 lunchtime lightning talks offered attendees time to present their projects to new audiences. By signing up in advance and by submitting three slides for a three-minute presentation, participants were able to spread the news of their project’s successes, challenges, and innovations.
  • 26 project incubator working groups, facilitated by leaders from libraries, museums, and historical societies. Sharing their experience developing and implementing projects, the incubation group facilitators guided conference participants through the process of developing an emerging project idea into an actionable project plan, which could later be shared with the rest of the conference’s participants.

Building on the WebWise 2013 theme, Friday’s keynote speaker, Hack Education’s Audrey Watters, asked participants to think carefully about who controls data that is collected about our daily activity and how institutions collect and store education-related data. Watters insists that if students truly are at the “center” of today’s learning, they should also be the primary curators of their own learning data. As more education technologies are built that capture and store and analyze learners’ data, Watters asks, how do we preserve that data in such a way that it is not simply extracted from the learner or from the community, trapped in a technological silo, and mined simply for corporate profit. How do we keep the learner at the center of his or her own learning?

If you missed her talk, you may read Ms. Watters’s notes and slides.

WebWise2013 may have ended, but the conference’s web site, will extend the learning beyond Baltimore. In the coming weeks, we will post project incubator materials, audio recordings of the small group reporting, photographs from the conference, while also seeking detailed feedback about this year’s conference. We will analyze all of that data, and use it to plan for next year.

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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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