Hidden Histories of America’s Front Lawn

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: mobile.mallhistory.us 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 (more…)

Matthew Battles set to Visit the Center

Matthew Battles, author of the book Library: An Unquiet History, and Producer + Editor for Digital Humanities Projects for metaLAB at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, will be coming to visit on 4/18 at 3pm in the Science Showcase (Research Hall 101 in the tower). Matthew will talk about various new-model publishing projects he’s involved with and will give a reading from his new collection of short stories, The Sovereignties of Invention, a work released by new-model publisher Red Lemonade.

See http://metalab.harvard.edu and http://redlemona.de for more information about those projects. Should be a great event for anyone interested in experiments with publishing and technology.

RRCHNM Shapes WebWise 2012

WebWise 2012 was not your average professional conference with a StarTrek actor and a punk rocker in the lineup as keynote speakers. The attendees of WebWise 2012, a conference sponsored by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for their grantees and other library, archives, and museum professionals, were inspired by LeVar Burton (Roots, Star Trek, & Reading Rainbow) and were impressed with musician Ian MacKaye’s work to self publish a digital archive of concerts recorded for his band Fugazi.

Sheila Brennan, Sharon Leon, and Tom Scheinfeldt of RRCHNM co-organized the conference with fellow IMLS cooperators, the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC). They planned an intense and invigorating 3-day program that included a THATCamp-like unconference, workshop sessions on 21st Century Skills and gaming, five plenary panels, and four keynote speakers.

Following the theme of “Tradition and Innovation,” Sharon, Sheila, and Tom worked to integrate the unique contributions of history museums, public libraries, and other local organizations into panels throughout WebWise 2012.

Sharon summarized the highlights of the conference on the ProfHacker blog, published by the Chronicle for Higher Education.

Don’t be too disappointed if you missed WebWise, because IMLS recorded each session and the webcasts are now available for viewing.

RRCHNM and BPOC (more…)

The Chronicle features 12 Tech Innovators

Dan Cohen, the director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and
New Media was featured as one of the 12 Tech Innovators in the
Chronicle of Higher Ed this week. At a university where “Innovation is
Tradition” Dr. Cohen seeks to “find new ways to do humanities research
using digital tools, and give even non-techy scholars the ability to
use them.” The article goes back to the center’s humble beginnings
when Dr. Cohen first began to dive into the world of digital
humanities. It also discusses the need to bring history to life using
effective digital tools. In a recent project, Dr. Cohen along side
colleague Dr. Fred Gibbs “examined whether one scholar’s famous
assertions about Victorian thought, made on the basis of close reading
of classic literature, held up against an analysis of Google’s
collection of over million Victorian books.” To read the full article
and the see the other 11 innovators please visit
http://chronicle.com/article/Daniel-Cohen/130925/.

Digital History Games at the AHA

History games were on the agenda at the American Historical Association conference in January. Led by CHNM’s Director of Educational Projects Kelly Schrum, the session, entitled “Playing the Past: Learning Through Digital History Games” was another step in the increased presence of digital history at this year’s conference.

The session featured a knowledgeable panel that included Dan Norton, founding partner and Creative Director of Filament Games (a Madison, WI, company that designs learning-based games); Jeremiah McCall, a high school history teacher at Cincinnati Country Day School and author of the book Gaming the Past: Using Video Games to Teach Secondary History and blog by the same name; and Leah Potter, Media Producer at the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning at CUNY.

The panel explored the use of games to teach and learn history, discussing how games can teach subject matter as well as critical thinking and analysis. The panelists talked about the ways in which games could be valuable tools for engaging students through simulated time travel and role playing, presenting historical concepts and scenarios, and showing the varied outcomes that historical events can have.

Games also have limitations and in addition to playing games, students (more…)

Digital Humanities Workshop at the AHA

From the unusual room set up to the cutting edge content, the morning session at the American Historical Association conference entitled “Digital Humanities: A Hands-On Workshop” was a unique opportunity for attendees to explore how new technology can enhance the study of history.

Dan Cohen Digital Humanities Workshop

Designed as a digital poster session and facilitated by Director of Educational Projects Kelly Schrum, participants were able (and encouraged) to wander through the room and interact with presenters. The large crowd did just that, and were treated to a plethora of new information and ideas about how to use technology in both their scholarly work and their teaching. In addition to academics, the session also attracted teachers, museum administrators, archivists, and other history-related professionals.

The attendees were treated to presentations from several CHNM staff members and affiliated scholars. CHNM Director Dan Cohen presented on the state of scholarly publishing and how new digital methods and venues might alter that landscape. In particular, Cohen discussed PressForward, an effort to aggregate the best scholarship from blogs, institutional sites, and other outlets. Fred Gibbs, Director of Digital Scholarship, spoke about text mining by dispelling myths and soothing fears about its complexity, showing simple but powerful tools for searching and reformatting data for (more…)

Digital History Research Awards for New PhD Students at Mason

George Mason University and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media are pleased to announce Digital History Research Awards for students entering the History and Art History doctoral program in fall 2012. 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 ckierner@gmu.edu or Professor Dan Cohen (Director, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media) at dcohen@gmu.edu. The deadline for applications is January 15, 2012.

CHNM Co-Organizing 2012 WebWise Conference

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a contract to CHNM, in partnership with the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC), to help organize the 2012 WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital Age to be held February 29-March 2 at the Renaissance Harbor Place in Baltimore, MD.

The theme for the two-day WebWise conference will be “Tradition and Innovation,” as panelists and presenters investigate the use of digital technologies especially in the field of history. Recognizing that history museums, historical societies, and other history-focused institutions are poorly represented in national discussions of digital libraries and museums, WebWise 2012 will make a concerted effort to surface the challenges historical organizations have faced in doing digital work and the under-appreciated contributions they have made in this area. Prior to the conference, CHNM and BPOC will organize a day-long unconference, similar to THATCamp.

“We are pleased to be working with these two national leaders in the field of technology integration into the services of libraries, museums, archives, and living collections,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “George Mason University and Balboa Park have been at the forefront of some of the very issues that we hope to explore further during our (more…)

Announcing OccupyArchive.org

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University is pleased to announce the launch of #OccupyArchive occupyarchive.org, an effort to collect, preserve, and share the stories and born-digital materials of Occupy Wall Street and the associated Occupy movements around the world. Visit the “Share”occupyarchive.org/share page to offer your reflections on the occupations, or contribute a document, an image, a video, or an audio recording.

Currently, the archive includes a growing set of collections of webpage screenshots, movement documents, and digital images. These collections were built with a combination of individual contributions and automated feed importing. Now, with the launch of the OccupyArchive.org website, individuals can contribute and geolocate their stories and files from the movement. Together, these materials will provide an historical record of the 2011 Occupy protests.

The #OccupyArchive is a result of the efforts of volunteers from CHNM and the George Mason University History and Art History Department. It build upon the experiences and techniques developed in CHNM’s previous digital archive projects, such as the September 11th Digital Archive, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, the Bracero History Archive, and the Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800. #OccupyArchive is proudly powered with (more…)

Come develop with the Omeka team!

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is looking for a new contract developer to join our innovative, energetic, and hilarious team of developers. With guidance from our Lead Developer and Omeka Dev Team Manager, and in collaboration with other developers and members of CHNM, the new team member will work primarily on various aspects of our Omeka content management system. Duties may include helping to resolve issues, building new sites with Omeka, developing plugins and themes, and helping to design and implement future versions of the core Omeka codebase, as well as contributing to other ad-hoc projects within the CHNM ecosystem.

You can see the code at https://github.com/omeka/Omeka. Some other CHNM projects are at https://github.com/chnm.

Required

  • Proficiency in PHP and Javascript
  • Strong Object-Oriented programming skills
  • Familiarity with the MVC design pattern
  • Familiarity with Zend Framework
  • Excellent communication skills with others at all levels of programming skill, from “Hello World!” novice to seasoned guru
  • Ability to balance competing needs and priorities in designing code
  • Creativity in problem-solving, and openness to experimenting with unfamiliar approaches

Preferred

  • Experience working on open source software projects
  • Familiarity with HTML5, CSS3, and graphic design principles
  • Experience with Amazon Web Services and other cloud services
  • Experience with PHPUnit testing framework
  • Background or experience in the Humanities

CHNM is the leading producer (more…)