his book grew out of a project at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University (GMU) entitled Echo: Exploring and Collecting History Online–Science, Technology, and Industry, which has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. One of the key goals of that project has been to foster the online collecting of history of the sort described in Chapter 6. In working with those interested in this emerging practice, we saw the need for a straightforward introduction to all aspects of digital history, and this book is the result. We are deeply grateful to the Sloan Foundation for its generous support and especially to our program officer, Jesse Ausubel, for his vital encouragement of the work of CHNM and, more generally, for his visionary commitment to using new digital technology to collect, present, and preserve the past.

Our work in Echo would not have been possible without our wonderful colleagues at CHNM and, especially, two close collaborators in this book. Very early on, Jim Sparrow began thinking about many of the issues discussed herein, and his inspiration and energy were central to creating and sustaining Echo and to conceptualizing this volume. We were also tremendously lucky to have Tom Scheinfeldt join us in the summer of 2002, and he played a key role in making the September 11 Digital Archive the great success described in Chapter 6 as well as in the further development of Echo. Tom not only helped plan this book (as did Jim); he also drafted early versions of two of the chapters. We could not ask for better colleagues and friends.

Other staff members at Echo and CHNM played essential roles in the writing of this book. Emily Bliss, Rustin Crandall, Joan Fragazy, and Jim Safley provided thoughtful, energetic, and invaluable assistance locating articles and documents, interviewing digital historians, organizing references, finding and preparing illustrations, and helping us work through difficult technical and conceptual issues. They also offered valuable and perceptive feedback on portions of the manuscripts as did other colleagues at CHNM, including Stephanie Hurter, Rikk Mulligan, Mike O’Malley, Elena Razlogova, Kelly Schrum, Amanda Shuman, and Tom Scheinfeldt. As we note in the introduction, the “we” that is often invoked in this book includes our collaborators at CHNM as well as those at the American Social History Project (ASHP) at the City University of New York, especially Steve Brier and Josh Brown, with whom we have worked on a wide range of digital history projects stretching back over more than fifteen years and whose deep democratic commitments and extraordinary creativity have taught us so much. We hope that our dedication adequately conveys our deep debt to the wonderful collaborators we have had at ASHP and CHNM. We are also indebted to our department chair, Jack Censer, and our dean, Daniele Struppa, for the enthusiastic support they have given to CHNM.

We benefited greatly from astute readings of the whole or parts of the manuscript. We received insightful comments on the entire manuscript from Steve Brier, Robert Chazan, Abbie Grotke, Giles Hudson, and Jim Sparrow. In addition to those already named, we also received valuable comments on particular chapters from Josh Brown, Peter Jaszi, Terence Ross, David Seaman, Abby Smith, and Rebecca Tushnet.

Bob Lockhart’s enthusiasm for this project has been indispensable, particularly his willingness to take a chance on an open access model of publishing, which will make a digital version of the book available for free online. We are also grateful to the University of Pennsylvania Press for its support of this approach, as well as its willingness to publish the print edition under the Founders’ Copyright, as we advocate in Chapter 7. Noreen O’Connor provided clear and timely editorial assistance. It is a delight to have an index prepared by Jim O’Brien. The online version of this book was designed and built by Jeremy Boggs; we are deeply grateful for the care and creativity that he has put into producing a digital version of this digital history book.

Our most profound thanks go to our families—Deborah Kaplan, Rachel Chazan Cohen, and Eve and Arlo Cohen—for cheerfully tolerating the distractions of this project and for providing many wonderful reasons to look up from our computers.