Scripto Alpha Launches with the Papers of the War Department

We are pleased to announce the alpha implementation of Scripto, CHNM’s open source tool for crowdsourcing documentary transcription, with the Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800 project.  Beginning today, interested volunteers can register to begin transcribing any of the materials in this groundbreaking digital archive.

With major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities and the National Archives’ National Historical Publications and Records Commission, CHNM is pioneering a new phase in digital documentary editing, by allowing users to transcribe historical documents and contribute them to a digital archive of correspondence, speeches, accounting logs, and other documents from early American history.

Building on the models of other crowdsourcing projects like Wikipedia and Flickr Commons, PWD will benefit from the various enthusiastic communities of volunteer transcribers. Volunteers—who may include historians doing scholarly research, students and teachings, genealogists, and other interested members of the general public—will have the opportunity to transcribe any of the over 45,000 documents in the digital archive.  In doing so, they will make that text available to the search engine, improving the ability of users to locate the materials they need.  Additionally, as users select documents to transcribe the editors at the PWD project will (more…)

For Virginians: Government Matters

Fairfax County Public Schools teachers explored the activities and case studies found within For Virginians: Government Matters on March 1 at an inservice about state and local government. The day included presentations by Chairman Sharon Bulova, Delegate Scott Surovell, and former Senator Emilie Miller.

Roy’s Book Release Reception

Roy Rosenzweig Book Release:  On Feb. 18, 2011 Deborah Kaplan (Roy’s wife), colleagues and friends gathered at George Mason University’s Mason Inn to celebrate the release of Roy’s new book, “Clio Wired, The Future of the Past in the Digital Age,” published by Columbia University Press.   With an introduction by Anthony Grafton, the book is a collection of path breaking essays is which he charts the impact of new media on teaching, researching, preserving, presenting, and understanding history.

Roy Rosenzweig (1959-2007) was professor of history and founder of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

September 11 Digital Archive Awarded Saving America’s Treasures Grant

We are pleased to announce that The September 11 Digital Archive has received a Saving America’s Treasures grant to assist in the preservation of the collection at

Cutting edge at its launch nearly ten years ago, the Archive now is showing its age. This award will pay to transfer this groundbreaking digital collection to a stable, standardized, up-to-date archival system. This data transfer is an essential first step in guaranteeing that the world’s largest public collection of digital materials related to the events of September 11, 2001 will be available to scholars, students, policy-makers, and the general public in the coming decades.

Launched in 2001 as an effort to capture the personal experiences, responses, and images produced in the wake of 9/11, staff at CHNM and the American Social History Project (ASHP) at the City University of New York Graduate Center used electronic media to collect, preserve and present the history of those events and the public responses to them. CHNM and ASHP built a simple portal to accept electronic submissions of first-hand accounts, emails and other electronic communications, digital photographs, artwork, and a range of other born-digital materials. Through partnerships with local community groups and national cultural institutions, the archive (more…)

CHNM and Scholars’ Lab Partner on “Omeka + Neatline”

The Scholars’ Lab at the University of Virginia Library and the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University, are pleased to announce a collaborative “Omeka + Neatline” initiative, supported by $665,248 in funding from the Library of Congress.

The Omeka + Neatline project’s goal is to enable scholars, students, and library and museum professionals to create geospatial and temporal visualizations of archival collections using a Neatline toolset within CHNM’s popular, open source Omeka exhibition platform. Neatline, a “contribution to interpretive humanities scholarship in the visual vernacular,” is a project of the UVa Library Scholars’ Lab, originally bolstered by a Start-Up Grant from the Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities. Omeka is an award-winning web-publishing platform for the display of cultural heritage and scholarly collections and exhibits, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

This two-year initiative will allow CHNM and the Scholars’ Lab to expand and regularize a partnership that developed informally between the two centers over the course of the past year. Collaboration has already resulted in improvements to the core functionality of Omeka by CHNM and (more…)

CHNM welcomes Patrick Murray-John to the staff

CHNM is pleased to announce that later this week Patrick Murray-John (@patrick_mj) will be joining our staff as web developer and research assistant professor. Murray-John is an accomplished digital humanist with a PhD in Anglo-Saxon Literature from the University of Wisconsin, significant classroom experience, and many years of work as an Instructional Technology Specialist at the University of Mary Washington.

At CHNM, Patrick will be leading the development on the Teaching History Commons. An outgrowth of, the THCommons will serve as professional network for k-12 history teachers and the many faculty and administrators that support their work. Additionally, Murray-John will contribute to the work of CHNM’s Public Projects division, working with the Omeka development community and on a variety of new digital humanities projects.

Welcome, Patrick!

Children & Youth in History website recognized by American Library Association division

Children in Youth & History, the first website focused exclusively on children and youth in history, has received honorable mention in the 2011 RUSA ABC-CLIO Online History Awards competition, which recognizes achievements in free, open-access online history tools and reference resources.

In its announcement, the awards committee said it “was impressed with the design, execution, purpose, and content of Children in History.  . . The fact that Children in History remains a free, open-access resource, available to all and not just affiliates of elite research institutions, is a testament to your commitment to history education.”

Several CHNM staff were among the project team, including co-directors Kelly Schrum and Miriam Forman-Brunell (Affiliated Faculty), Jeremy Boggs, Chris Raymond, Susan Douglass, and Ken Albers.

The ABC-CLIO Online History Award recognizes the accomplishments of a person or a group of people producing a freely available online historical collection, an online tool for finding historical materials, or an online teaching aid stimulating creative historical scholarship.

RUSA, the Reference and User Services Association, supports excellence in the delivery of general library services and materials to adults, and the provision of reference and information services, collection development, and resource sharing for all ages.

NEH ODH Start-Up Grant Lightening Talks, and a Correction

Recently the National Endowment for the Humanities posted the lightening talks from the Fall 2010 project directors meeting. Take a look at the videos to get a quick glimpse of the great range of cutting-edge work going on in the digital humanities.

There were two CHNM projects amongst the over 40 grant projects highlighted at the meeting. Unfortunately, the brief introduction to Scripto included some factual errors that we wish to correct.

The Papers of George Washington were founded in 1968 (not 1969) and have published 62 volumes (not 52). The Papers of James Madison have 14 remaining volumes and have published 32 volumes to date (not the 15 published volumes cited). In our 17 years of work in history and new media at CHNM, we have prized our collaborations with a full range of history professionals and organizations, and we regret if these errors suggested a lack of respect for our colleagues working on the Founding Fathers papers projects.