Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.

Introducing Scripto: a Tool for Community Transcription

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) at George Mason University is pleased to announce the release of its newest open source tool, Scripto, which opens up the possibilities of community transcription for digital humanities projects in universities, libraries, archives, and museums. With easy-to-implement extensions for the popular open source content management system, including Omeka, WordPress, and Drupal, Scripto allows administrators for any project with collection materials requiring a transcription can now enlist a community of enthusiasts to participate in this aspect of cultural heritage work.

Scripto is an open-source tool that permits registered users to view digital files and transcribe them with an easy-to-use toolbar, rendering that text searchable. The tool includes a versioning history and editorial controls to make public contributions more manageable, and supports the transcription of a wide range of file types (both images and documents). Comprehensive User’s Guide that offers advice on project planning, software installation and setup, transcription editing and oversight, and community outreach, is available on the Scripto website. Additionally, web developers are free to contribute to the project by extending the code, and by participating in a developers’ discussion group .

Building on the models of other crowdsourcing projects like Wikipedia and Flickr Commons, Scripto allows cultural heritage institutions to take advantage of the various communities of volunteer transcribers. Volunteers—who may include enthusiasts, transcription buffs, students, teachers, or academic researchers—transcribe collections materials, correct the mistakes made by other transcribers, and make that data searchable and accessible. Scripto is currently being implemented as a transcription tool for the Papers of the War Department project at RRCHNM, and a host of projects at libraries and archives around the country.

Scripto is funded by the Office of Digital Humanities at National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Archives and Records Administration’s National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

CHNM producing Bridging Culture Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys website for NEH and ALA

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is pleased to partner with George Mason’s Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies on a website for the first National Endowment for the Humanities and American Library Association Bridging Cultures Bookshelf, entitled “Muslim Journeys.” A group of distinguished scholars and public programmers selected the 25 books and documentaries on the Bookshelf to familiarize the public with the diverse people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in America and around the globe. A complete set of the Bookshelf will be distributed to 1,000 libraries and state humanities councils in 2013.

RRCHNM is developing the website companion for the “Muslim Journeys” Bookshelf. The website will feature thematic groupings, summaries of the books, profiles of the authors, and introductory essays by renowned scholars. Also available will be additional primary sources related to the texts, bibliographies for further reading, and tools and tips for organizing, publicizing, and hosting informative and respectful discussions using the “Muslim Journeys” materials.

The Muslim Journeys website will be available in January 2013. Libraries and state humanities councils can apply to the American Library Association through September 25, 2012 for a free set of Bookshelf items. Goes Mobile

Friday, July 6th, 2012, the toolkit for busy teachers, has launched a mobile version, now making it easier than ever to access history quizzes (“PLAY”), videos (“WATCH”), and other resources for K–12 educators.

Development of the mobile version was spearheaded by James McCartney, the Center’s Drupal developer.

Popular Romance Project Blog Sparks Discussion

Friday, July 6th, 2012

The Popular Romance HomepageSince its launch this spring, the Popular Romance Project blog has attracted more than 12,000 unique visitors, 120,000 page views, and, according to Dr. Kelly Schrum, Director of Educational Projects, 250-plus “thoughtful and engaged” comments on its more than 50 substantive blog posts.

Creative lead and senior web designer Chris Anne Raymond designed the WordPress site; it is part of a multi-pronged project, which also includes a documentary film directed by Laurie Kahn, perhaps most well-known for her earlier film Tupperware!

Rosenzweig Forum

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

“One day, all of our records will be online. You can help make it happen,” proclaims the welcome screen of the National Archives and Records Administration’s Citizen Archivist Dashboard. The Citizen Archivist Dashboard is only one of many cool digital initiatives from “our nation’s attic”: you can learn more about these projects on Thursday, June 14, at 4pm at the Rosenzweig Forum on Technology and the Humanities, where Dr. Sharon Leon will be interviewing Pamela Wright, Chief Digital Strategist at NARA.

Rosenzweig Forum on Technology and the Humanities
Thursday, June 14, 4pm
George Mason University (Fairfax)
Johnson Center Meeting Room A (3rd floor)
This event is free and open to the public. For directions to George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus, see

Summer Intern — Web Developer

Friday, May 18th, 2012

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University is seeking a creative, energetic, and well-organized student for a 2012 summer internship (8 to 12 weeks) at a leading digital humanities center. Strong grades and ability to work in a team are essential. Preference given to applicants with a working knowledge of one or more of the following: PHP, MySQL, WordPress, JavaScript, or Drupal. Please send resume and cover letter to *protected email*. This will be a paid internship. We will begin considering applications on 5/25/2012.

About CHNM: Since 1994, CHNM has used digital media and technology to preserve and present history online, transform scholarship across the humanities, and advance historical education and understanding. Each year CHNM’s projects receive over 20 million visitors.

CHNM partners with NCPH on new History@Work site

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce a new partnership with the National Council on Public History (NCPH) to develop and host the organization’s new “History@Work” website at History@Work is a group blog designed to expand on the long-running work of H-Public, to serve as an online “commons” where people from a variety of areas of the public history field could share ideas and news, and to create a bridge to future digital and other publication efforts. Like the field of public history itself, the blog is designed to blend scholarly, professional, and civic discourse arising from the practice of presenting history in public. Several members of the CHNM staff will be in attendance at this week’s NCPH annual meeting and available to discuss the new website and CHNM’s many other public history efforts.

History@Work aims to cover as wide a range of perspectives and venues in public history as possible, including:

  • Annual Conference: serves as the central conference blog during our annual spring conference
  • Consulting in Public History: news and discussion of interest to those working as consultants in the field
  • Exhibits & Projects: announcements of new public history projects, plus critical reviews of conventional and unconventional exhibitry in our “Off the Wall” section
  • Grad Students/New Professionals: issues of particular interest to those who are training to be public historians or who have just entered the field
  • In the Academy: issues of interest to those who teach in public history programs and/or others in the academy whose work relates to public history
  • International Perspectives: cross-cultural or comparative discussions of public history practice around the world; transnational dimensions of the field
  • NCPH: a space for news and updates relating to the National Council on Public History
  • Social/Environmental Issues: pulls together postings on the wide range of public history questions that touch on social justice and the environment

History@Work is also an experiment in new modes of scholarly communication, in keeping with the goals of CHNM’s PressForward project. History@Work is “lightly peer-edited”—that is, volunteer editorial teams with interests in specific sub-topics in public history invite and recruit postings, which may then be edited and revised for relevance and focus.

With its commitment to using digital technologies to foster new kinds of scholarship and with its strong roots in public history, CHNM is delighted to be a part of NCPH’s latest foray into the digital realm.

Hidden Histories of America’s Front Lawn

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce that it has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Public Programs over three years to create a mobile-optimized website that provides visitors to the National Mall with access to a rigorous interpretation of the history and culture of the space as a place where national identity is built, negotiated, celebrated, protested, and remembered.

Using geospatial and thematic points of entry, Hidden Histories of America’s Front Lawn: intends to make visible the rich past of the National Mall for its millions of on-site visitors through a website easily accessible by mobile phones that provides content and interpretation far superior to static guidebooks and existing mobile tours and applications.

Each year, over 25,000,000 people come to the National Mall. Many of those visitors—-parents with school-aged children, students and teachers, senior citizens, travelers from other nations—-make their visit to the green expanses wandering between the Lincoln Memorial and the US Capitol prepared to learn about the nation’s past and the many people and events commemorated within that space. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to find much in the way of interpretive content as they wander from monument to museum. If they do find content, it is basic visitor information, not stories that bring to life the hidden history of this public place. Hidden Histories will offer these visitors a portable way to explore the Mall’s rich history while they experience the physical space.

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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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