Archive for 2007

Omeka Hits Milestone

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Omeka, CHNM’s new free and open source platform for publishing collections and exhibitions online, hit a major milestone with the launch of Release Candidate 4 (RC4). Designed for cultural institutions, enthusiasts, and educators, Omeka is easy to install and modify and facilitates community-building around collections and exhibits. It is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content rather than programming.

Three months from its initial beta release, Omeka is already in use by institutions around the country, including the Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film and Virginia Tech’s April 16 Archive.

Omeka features:

  • Dublin Core metadata structure and standards-based design that is fully accessible and interoperable
  • Professional-looking exhibit templates that showcase collections without hiring outside designers
  • Theme-switching for changing the look and feel of an exhibit in a few clicks
  • Plug-ins for user contributions, batch upload, and a host of other possibilities
  • Web 2.0 Technologies, including tagging and syndication through RSS feeds.

Omeka is currently in private beta. If you are interested in getting on the invitation list to download and test Omeka, please email the Omeka team, which will notify you when there are additional spaces for this testing period. Omeka will be available for general public download in early-2008.

ScholarPress Launched

Monday, November 12th, 2007

CHNM Creative Lead, Jeremy Boggs and CHNM Web Developer, Dave Lester have announced the launch of ScholarPress, a hub for educational WordPress plugins. ScholarPress currently features two plugins, Courseware and WPBook.

Courseware enables users to manage a class with a WordPress blog, including a schedule, bibliography, assignments, and other course information. Initially developed during the summer of 2006 with help from Josh Greenberg, former Associate Director of Research Projects, now the Director of Digital Strategy and Scholarship at the New York Public Library, Courseware has since been tested and used by several professors at George Mason University.

WPBook works with the Facebook Development platform to enable Facebook users to embed a WordPress Blog onto their Facebook page. WPBook works with Courseware to create a custom application allowing students to view syllabus information directly from Facebook.

A third plugin, Gradebook, will allow users to manage and display class grades securely to students. Gradebook is currently under development.

Moving Forward

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Roy Rosenzweig co-founded the Center for History and New Media in 1994 and directed the Center until he passed away last month. In the early years, the Center was just Roy and a few others, but in the last seven years the number of projects, size of the staff, and overall ambition of the Center has grown exponentially. Presently there are over forty people working full or part time at CHNM on over two dozen active projects, from landmark history education projects like History Matters and the new National History Education Clearinghouse, important collections like the September 11 Digital Archive, and innovative software such as Zotero and Omeka.

Although we always joked that Roy could do the work of many people, among his many legacies was his realization that CHNM was built not on servers and software but on people and their passion for history and digital technology, and that despite his boundless energy he could not do it all. Over the past five years Roy assembled a senior staff with decades of combined experience in the construction of new media, and hired what we like to think is one of the most talented groups of web designers, programmers, and researchers in (more…)

Roy Rosenzweig: Memorial Events

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Several memorial events are being planned to celebrate the life and work of CHNM’s beloved late director, Roy Rosenzweig, who passed away earlier this month after a valiant struggle with cancer. Details will be posted at, where friends, colleagues, and admirers may also post memories, stories, tributes, photos and other materials in celebration of Roy.

Washington Area Technology & Humanities Fall Forum

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

This fall the Washington DC Area Forum on Technology and the Humanities is pleased to present:

Bob Stein on “The Evolution of Reading and Writing in the Networked Era”

For the past several hundred years intellectual discourse has been shaped by the rhythms and hierarchies inherent in the nature of print. As discourse shifts from page to screen, and more significantly to a networked environment, the old definitions and relations are undergoing substantial changes. The shift in our world view from individual to network holds the promise of a radical reconfiguraton in culture. Notions of authority are being challenged. The roles of author and reader are morphing and blurring. Publishing, methods of distribution, peer review and copyright – every crucial aspect of the way we move ideas around – is up for grabs. The new digital technologies afford vastly different outcomes ranging from oppressive to liberating. How we make this shift has critical long term implications for human society.

Our speaker will be Robert Stein, director of the Institute for the Future of the Book. The institute has two principal activities. one is building high-end tools for making rich media electronic documents (part of the Mellon Foundation’s higher-ed digital infrastructure initiative) and the (more…)

History Clearinghouse Contract, Omeka Grant

Friday, October 5th, 2007

The Center for History and New Media is proud to announce its award of two major grants last week from the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

CHNM received a $7 million contract from the U.S. Department of Education, one of the largest competitive grants ever won by George Mason University, to develop and maintain a National History Education Clearinghouse over the next five years in collaboration with the History Education group led by Sam Wineburg at Stanford University (SU), the American Historical Association (AHA), and the National History Center (NHC). Centered on K-12 history education, the project will aim to integrate major developments to advance history teaching and learning. The emergence of the Internet has made an unprecedented number of historical documents and resources available to teachers and students alike, while the Department of Education’s Teaching American History (TAH) program has devoted over $700 million to improve history education. Led by Roy Rosenzweig, Kelly Schrum, and Sharon Leon, the Clearinghouse project will consolidate the most informative online history content as well as provide a digital support center for American history teachers at all levels and in all locations. More specifically, the web (more…)

Echo Grants, NYC Digital History Workshop

Monday, October 1st, 2007

The Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce two exciting opportunities for historians of science, technology, and industry: Echo Online Collection Grants and a Doing Digital History Workshop in New York.

CHNM’s Echo project is pleased to announce the availability of up to five $1000 grants to fund current research projects involving the online collection of the recent history of science, technology, and industry. Echo offers tailored consulting services to institutions and individual researchers with online projects or ideas, including help with strategic project planning, technology, website design, and outreach in building digital history collections. Examples of projects that employ Echo methods and technologies can be found at the Echo Collecting Center and include A Thin Blue Line: The History of the Pregnancy Test Kit, a joint project by Echo and the National Institute of Health, and Remembering Columbia STS-107, an online exhibit by NASA. Please submit a grant proposal of no more than 500 words and a C.V. to with the subject line, “Echo grant proposal,” by December 1, 2007.

CHNM also invites public historians of science, technology, and industry in the New York area to our next workshop on the theory and practice of digital history. The (more…)

CHNM Helps Launch Local History Project

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

The Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce the launch of a new project, A Look Back at Braddock District, Fairfax County, Virginia at Working with a committed team of volunteer researchers from the office of The Honorable Sharon Bulova, Braddock District Supervisor, CHNM provided technical and conceptual support for the website. Hosted by the CHNM as a community service and maintained by local residents, the site includes brief historical essays, teaching materials, and a searchable database of oral histories, photographs, and artifacts contributed by area residents.

The website is a companion to the book, Braddock’s True Gold: 20th Century Life in the Heart of Fairfax County, tracing the transformation of the Braddock area from a rural region into a sprawling suburb of Washington, D.C.

CHNM Digital Memory Banks in the News

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Two of CHNM’s “digital memory bank” projects have drawn major media attention of late, marking important landmarks in both American history and their own development.

On August 29, 2007 on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank (HDMB) announced a new partnership with the Historic New Orleans Collection to present and preserve the Do You Know What It Means?, an important photo-documentary collection and long-time partner of the project. HDMB was also featured in a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Stories From the Storm.”

On September 11, 2007 on the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, CHNM’s September 11 Digital Archive announced the launch an improved website that for the first time provides public access to thousands of previously unavailable artifacts. In June of 2004, the September 11 Digital Archive ceased publishing new material, though it continued to collect stories, images, and other artifacts. The collection now stands at more than 150,000 digital objects, of which only a small portion has ever been made available. With the website’s relaunch, the full scope of the archive will be accessible to both researchers and the public, tripling the extent of shared memories. This (more…)

“Voices from the Storm” Podcast Debuts

Monday, July 30th, 2007

This summer CHNM’s Hurricane Digital Memory Bank (HDMB) features a new series of podcasts, “Voices from the Storm.” Each week, from now until the end of September, Mills Kelly and Sheila Brennan read stories submitted to the online archive. Listeners hear from hurricane evacuees and survivors, as well as from volunteers who traveled to the Gulf Coast to help with the massive recovery efforts. Subscribe to the RSS feed and receive the latest podcasts and news from HDMB.

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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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