Participad: A New WordPress Plugin

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

Second Year of Mason’s Digital History Doctoral Research Award

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, or yours truly at The deadline for applications is January 15, 2013.

Donor Wall Display

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

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 (more…)

Introducing Scripto: a Tool for Community Transcription

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 (more…)

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

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, 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

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

“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

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 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.