Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.

Catch up on #WebWise in Tweets:

Director Call for Applications Now Open

Monday, March 11th, 2013

The official job ad for our new director is now up on our university’s HR site. Please encourage great people to apply!

George Mason University invites applications for the Director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) is approaching its 20th anniversary as a leading digital humanities institution that seeks to democratize access to history, educate using digital media and technology, and transform research methods for 21st century.

The Director’s responsibilities include: providing an overall vision of innovation for RRCHNM; articulating this vision to multiple audiences; raising substantial project funds and for RRCHNM’s endowment; handling administrative duties related to budgeting and personnel; and launching major new initiatives. The Director will work closely with RRCHNM senior staff in three divisions: Education, Public Projects, and Research.

Candidates should have a strong record of digital innovation, managerial experience, and grant-getting. It is expected that this hire will be made at the senior-level (i.e., full or advanced associate). This position will start in the fall of 2013.

George Mason University is a public research university located approximately 14 miles from Washington, D.C., with over 30,000 students. Global education and research are a fundamental part of the university’s mission to serve its diverse and international student body. RRCHNM is part of the Department of History and Art History, which has the largest M.A. program in the country and a nationally ranked Ph.D. program.

Dan Cohen Selected as Executive Director of the Digital Public Library of America

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

For over twelve years, with the last five as director, Dan Cohen has offered the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) the benefit of his vision, strong leadership, and dedication. Now Dan will be departing to bring his energy and creativity to the Digital Public Library of America. Congratulations, Dan!

George Mason University’s Department of History and Art History and RRCHNM are preparing to launch a comprehensive search to fill Dan’s position, and we will post the job ad here shortly.

As always, the work of RRCHNM continues under the guidance of its senior directors and drawing on the rich experience of the staff who have sustained its innovation for nearly twenty years. We look forward to advancing our mission to use technology to preserve and present history digitally, transform scholarship across the humanities, and improve historical education and understanding.

There are many exciting ventures to come, and we are eager to share them with the digital humanities communities, as well as to continue our collaborations with Dan even if it’s across institutions!



Online U.S. History Course: Hidden in Plain Sight (Sp 2013)

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University is pleased to announce Hidden in Plain Sight, an online U.S. history course created for teachers with funding from the Virginia Department of Education. This Spring 2013 course may be taken for recertification points or for graduate credit.

45 Recertification Points
Participants work through eight modules. In each module, requirements include writing a hypothesis, exploring historical context, completing a quiz, and reflecting on classroom applications. The cost is $40. Register by January 16, 2013.

3 Graduate Credits
For graduate credit, teachers participate in a related course with eight modules. In each module, requirements include writing a hypothesis, exploring historical context, reading scholarly articles, completing a quiz, and reflecting on classroom applications. Participants will design and produce a lesson on the hidden history of a historical object as the final project. The cost is $800 for Virginia residents ($875 out-of-state). Pre-register by January 16, 2013.

Visit the course website for more information.

THATCamp Website Redesign-Live Q & A

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

We are coming to the end of our public beta period for the redesigned, and to celebrate, we’re going to host a live question and answer session on Twitter. On Friday, December 7th at 10am Eastern, we’ll take half an hour to answer your questions about the process and product of our redesign. If you’re interested in either THATCamp or website redesign in general, keep an eye on the #thatcamp hashtag and/or the @thatcamp Twitter account at 10am Eastern on 12/7 to participate.

All the members of the team will be available to talk about the project:

  • Tom Scheinfeldt, project lead, @foundhistory on Twitter
  • Amanda French, project manager, @amandafrench on Twitter
  • Boone Gorges, web developer, @boone on Twitter
  • Tammie Lister, web designer, @karmatosed on Twitter
  • Rebecca Onion, content writer, @rebeccaonion on Twitter
  • Ammon Shepherd, systems administrator, @mossiso on Twitter

In case you hadn’t seen, some of the new features of include the following:

  • A network-wide Activity page that shows what people are doing on THATCamp sites around the world
  • A network-wide People page where you can search for people who’ve been to a THATCamp
  • User forums where THATCampers and THATCamp organizers can ask and answer questions of one another
  • Lots of new social features, including friending, favoriting, and messaging — log in and look at your own user profile or see my user profile to check them out
  • Built-in collaborative note-taking with Participad (coming soon)
  • A lovely new look and feel

Participad: A New WordPress Plugin

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is proud to announce the release of Participad, a WordPress plugin for real-time collaborative editing. Participad was developed for THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) to help participants take notes on unconference sessions, but we anticipate that it will be broadly useful for anyone who wants to co-author a blog post. If one historian in Canada and another in Australia are watching a U.S. presidential debate, for example, they can use Participad to live-blog their reactions.

Participad runs on Etherpad Lite and is open source software released under the GNU General Public License. Participad was built by Boone Gorges, the lead developer for CUNY Academic Commons and Anthologize. You can try the demo and download Participad at


For more information, write Amanda French at *protected email*.

Second Year of Mason’s Digital History Doctoral Research Award

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

A reminder to potential doctoral students in history that George Mason University and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media have Digital History Research Awards for students entering the History and Art History doctoral program. Students receiving these awards will get five years of fully funded studies, as follows: $20,000 research stipends in years 1 and 2; research assistantships at RRCHNM in years 3, 4, and 5. Awards include fulltime tuition waivers and student health insurance. For more information, contact Professor Cynthia A. Kierner (Director of the Ph.D. Program) at ude.u1413778868mg@re1413778868nreik1413778868c1413778868, or yours truly at ude.u1413778868mg@ne1413778868hocd1413778868. The deadline for applications is January 15, 2013.

Donor Wall Display

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Donors now have their name in lights in the new display at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

Remembering the Hurricanes of 2005

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

As weather forecasters show Tropical Storm Issac heading directly towards the Louisiana coast on August 29, we are all reminded of another storm that came ashore on the Gulf Coast on the same day in 2005. Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 storm that wiped out towns in Louisiana and Mississippi; caused the levee system in New Orleans to fail bringing about massive flooding that destroyed large parts of the city; forced thousands of residents to evacuate; and brought cultural, economic, and political changes to the region. During the 2005 hurricane season, three Category 5 storms entered the Gulf of Mexico, with Katrina and Rita causing the most damage leaving a path of destruction and broken lives from the Florida Panhandle to Southeast Texas.

We knew we were witnessing something significant and we wanted to document and collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In partnership with the University of New Orleans, RRCHNM built the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank in late 2005.

Following a model for online collecting established by the September 11 Digital Archive, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank sought to help historians and archivists to preserve the record of these storms by collecting first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, and podcasts. Our target audience was anyone who was affected by the 2005 hurricanes: survivors, volunteers, concerned citizens.

In effort to keep this digital archive accessible and the collecting portion active, we recently upgraded HDMB to the newest version of Omeka and refreshed the site’s design. The HDMB project helped RRCHNM test the software that would become Omeka. This project also heavily influenced our decision to release a contribution plugin for Omeka in its early development, enabling anyone to quickly launch a digital memory bank to document or commemorate events deemed significant.

As we remember Katrina and its legacy, we encourage you to browse through HDMB where you will find a collection of photographs taken by Smithsonian staff in September 2005; a series of videos capturing Greta Gadney giving walking tours of the historic Ninth Ward, and hundreds of personal accounts detailing evacuation, displacement, and rebuilding.

We are still actively collecting, so if you have a story related to the 2005 storms, please take a few minutes to share a remembrance with the memory bank.

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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

Featured Project is the central online location for accessing high-quality resources in K-12 U.S. history education. Explore the highlighted content on our homepage or visit individual sections for additional materials.