Newly named Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

On April 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm, donors, friends and staff gathered at the Research 1 building on George Mason University (GMU)campus to rename the Center for History and New Media in memory of its founder, Roy Rosenzweig.  Through the generous support of donors, more than a million dollars was raised to rename the Center.  Daniel Cohen, Director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History & New Media, welcomed guests to the dedication ceremony.  Acknowledgments were given by: Jack Censer, Dean of the GMU College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Alan Merten, President of GMU; Gary Kornblith, Professor of History from Oberlin College; Stephen Brier, Senior Academic Technology Officer Professor, CUNY; Brian Platt, Chair of the History Dept., GMU.

In 1994 Roy Rosenzweig founded the Center for History and New Media at GMU to use 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.  Roy Rosenzweig passed away after a battle with cancer in 2007.

What time is it? THATCamp time!

All year has been THATCamp time, seems like, but we’re now talking about that THATCamp, which will take place
June 3-5, 2011.

We’ve instituted some changes this year:

  • THATCamp 2011 will be larger: we’re planning on having 125 people who do all kinds of work related to the humanities and technology;
  • THATCamp 2011 will be truly open to all: instead of having an application process, we’ll be accepting all registrations up to 125 people;
  • THATCamp 2011 will have a BootCamp: the unconference will happen as usual on the weekend over a day and a half, but the Friday beforehand will be devoted to a series of workshops dedicated to improving technical skills; and
  • THATCamp 2011 is planning on at least two virtual sessions in which we get to talk to campers at THATCamp Liberal Arts Colleges and to Jon Voss about the outcome of his Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives, and Museums Summit.

Remember, registration is first come, first served, so grab your spot today!

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.