National Historical Publications and Records Commission Awards Two Grants to CHNM

CHNM is pleased to announce two grants from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), during the May 2010 funding cycle.

First, NHPRC has awarded continued funding to the Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800. This groundbreaking digital editorial project presents high resolution images of some 55,000 documents from the early War Department, which burned down in 1800. The collection has been carefully reconstructed through painstaking research in more than 200 repositories and more than 3,000 collections. This funding will allow the editorial team to dramatically improve the depth and quality of the metadata associated with the documents.

Second, NHPRC awarded its only grant in the “Strategies and Tools for Archives and Historical Publishing Projects” category to support the implementation, evaluation, and adaptation of CHNM’s crowdsourcing documentary transcription tool. Designed to allow members of the online public to contribute transcriptions to documentary edition projects, the tool’s initial development is being funded by an National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-up Grant. The NHPRC funding will provide for expanded user interface research and evaluation, as well as the creation of a set of connector scripts that will enable the tool to plug into common open source (more…)

NEH awards a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant to CHNM for Crowdsourcing Transcription Tool

CHNM is pleased to announce an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities to support the design and development of a tool for crowdsourcing documentary transcription. The $49,215 award will enable CHNM’s dev team to to build an open source tool to enable researchers to contribute document transcriptions and research notes to digital archival projects, thus harnessing the power of the community of users to improve the discoverability and usefulness of the archive.

Digital archives and documentary projects need a viable solution that lowers both the cost and the investment of staff time involved with transcribing of large numbers of historical documents. There will be significant benefits for both the editorial staff and for interested users, whether they are scholarly researchers, students and teachers, or members of the general public. This tool will help to address some of the long-term resource challenges facing many digital documentary editing projects.

We will use the Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800 as a test case for the tool development. The end result of the project will be a generalized tool that can be modified to work with a host of different content management systems, such as Omeka, (more…)

Mellon Foundation Awards Grant to Support Regional THATCamps

CHNM is pleased to announce a major award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the growing regional THATCamp network. The $264,000 award will provide new supports for training in digital methods and make it easier for regional THATCamps to be established and run. A regional coordinator will help prospective THATCamp organizers set up and run each conference; a compilation of open source software (“THATCamp-in-a-box”) will help support the proceedings from registration to session management; and a new curriculum for scholars inexperienced in digital methods (“BootCamp”) will be created and disseminated. In addition, a micro-fellowship program will assist aspiring digital humanists to attend a regional THATCamp.

THATCamp—The Humanities and Technology Camp—is a yearly user-generated unconference established by CHNM in 2008. During the past nine months, a network of locally conceived and organized regional THATCamps has taken root around the world. Recent regional THATCamps include events in Austin, TX, Pullman, WA, Columbus OH, Los Angeles, CA, and East Lansing, MI. Additional events are currently being planned for Paris, Toronto, London, Seattle, and other cities. CHNM’s home THATCamp is scheduled for May 22–23, 2010 in Fairfax, VA.

Bracero History Archive Wins NCHP Outstanding Public History Project Award

On Saturday, March 13, 2010, the CHNM’s Bracero History Archive <> received the National Council on Public History’s award for “Outstanding Public History Project.”

The award recognizes excellence in work completed within the previous two calendar years that contributes to a broader public reflection and appreciation of the past or that serves as a model of professional public history practice. Sharon Leon and other project staff, including Peter Liebhold (NMAH), Kristine Navaro (UTEP), Mireya Loza (Brown), and Alma Carillo (Brown), were on hand to accept the honor from NCPH President Marianne Babal at the annual awards luncheon.

The Bracero History Archive is a landmark venture in collaborative documentation. With major partners at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, the Institute of Oral History at the University of Texas at El Paso, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, and dozens of other small cultural heritage and community organizations around the country, the project has worked to collect and make available the oral histories and artifacts pertaining to the Bracero program, a guest worker initiative that spanned the years 1942-1964. Millions of Mexican agricultural workers crossed the border under (more…) Be First in Line

CHNM’s Omeka team is reaching for the clouds. After more than a year of planning and development, we are very pleased to announce the impending arrival of, a hosted web service that will bring standards-based online collections and exhibitions to the internet cloud. Be first in line for an invitation to try the free Alpha, including a special bundle of plugins, themes, and storage, when it launches in April. will expand Omeka’s current offerings with a completely web-based service. No server or programming experience required. Similar to services offered by WordPress, the popular open-source blogging software, with the launch of users will be able to sign up for a free hosted Omeka site. Just create a username and password, and your online collection or exhibition is up and running.

This new hosted web service will further the Omeka project’s mission to make collections-based online publishing more accessible to small cultural heritage institutions, individual scholars, enthusiasts, educators, and students.

With, your online exhibit is one click away.

Sign up today.

Cross-posted at

Rosenzweig Forum Returns – Negotiating the Cultural Turn(s): Subjectivity, Sustainability, and Authority in the Digital Humanities

The Rosenzweig Forum for Digital Humanities returns this month with a program entitled “Negotiating the Cultural Turn(s): Subjectivity, Sustainability, and Authority in the Digital Humanities.” On Wednesday, February 17, 2010 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Murray Room of Lauinger Library at Georgetown University, Tim Powell and Bethany Nowviskie will address and open a conversation about issues of cultural authority, intellectual property, innovation vs. sustainability, objectivity, and the need to think outside the academy’s walls.

Tim Powell directs digital archive projects for the Ojibwe Indian bands of northern Minnesota, the American Philosophical Society, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Tim will speak about a project entitled Gibagadinamaagoom (Ojibwe: “To Bring to Life, to Sanction, to Give Authority”) and how the focus on Ojibwe culture affects issues of intellectual property, open access, and the design of the interface, metadata, and database.

Bethany Nowviskie directs the University of Virginia Library’s efforts in digital research and scholarship, and is also associate director of the Mellon-funded Scholarly Communication Institute. She will discuss a number of projects from UVA’s SpecLab, Scholars’ Lab, and NINES research groups related to the expression of subjectivity and perspective in interpretive digital environments.

Together (and as digital (more…)

CHNM AHA Panel: Humanities in the Digital Age

On Friday, January 5th, the Center for History and New Media presented a highly successful panel and poster session at the American Historical Association’s 2010 Conference.

The CHNM-hosted session aimed to provide participants with an overview of different digital tools and services now available and how historians are using them for research, teaching, and collaboration. After brief introductions to the various posters, participants were able to walk around the room, spend time at the various stations, and talk with the presenters and other participants.

A number of CHNM staff were on-hand, including CHNM Creative Lead Jeremy Boggs to discuss WordPress, CHNM Director Dan Cohen to further explain text-mining tools, Jeffrey McClurken from the University of Mary Washington to present on Omeka and student web projects, CHNM Community Lead Trevor Owens to answer questions about Zotero, and CHNM Director of Education Kelly Schrum to speak about the National History Education Clearinghouse.

This was followed in the afternoon by a hands-on workshop where participants could learn to use some of the specific tools displayed at the morning session, including  how to set-up a blog, create a course website, try some basic text-mining, or build a model student website. The CHNM AHA poster session was co-sponsored by (more…)

CHNM Wins International Funding for Digging into Data Challenge

The Center for History and New Media, as part of a team with humanities centers from the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Alberta, has received funding from the Digging into Data Challenge Competition for their project, “Data Mining with Criminal Intent: Using Zotero and TAPoR on the Old Bailey Proceedings.” This project will develop tools and models for comparing, visualizing, and analyzing the history of crime, using the Old Bailey Online, which contains extensive court records of more than 197,000 individual trials held over a period of 240 years in Great Britain.

Eight international research teams have been awarded the first Digging into Data Challenge grants for projects that promote innovative humanities and social science research using large-scale data analysis.  Four leading research agencies sponsor the international competition:  the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) from the United Kingdom, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) from the United States, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) from Canada.

“Trying to manage a deluge of data and turn bits of information into useful knowledge is a problem that affects almost everyone in today’s digital age,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach.  “With this international grant (more…)

CHNM Grants Administrator Andy Privee Wins the 2009 GMU Mary Roper Award

Andy Privee, the grants administrator for the Center for History and New Media (CHNM), and Kathy Secrist, a long-time staff member of the Sociology and Anthropology Department, were each presented with a 2009 Mary Roper award in a ceremony at the George Mason University Center for the Arts December 2nd.

The Roper Award began in 2001 and was named for a veteran GMU employee, Mary Roper, who worked in the department of biology and in the college dean’s office for 14 years.  Ms. Roper was in attendance at the ceremony to honor the College of Humanities and Social Sciences staff members who have consistently demonstrated excellent performance, commitment, and dedication to the college.

“Both Karen and Andy continually embody the qualities of the Mary Roper award,” said Censer.

Privee joined CHNM in 2006, bringing with him 30 years of experience in administrative and operations roles for the Peace Corps and Environmental Protection Agency. An avid marathon runner, who has finished 13 different races around the east coast, Privee’s work at CHNM requires similar stamina.

“He has become essential to the stability of CHNM,” said Censer.

Both Privee and Secrist were presented with an engraved glass award and gifts.

“Usually, success is not the result of an individual (more…)

CHNM Announces the First Receipient of the AHA Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship

The Center for History and New Media is honored to announce Digital Harlem Everyday Life, 1915-1930 as the inaugural recipient of the American Historical Association’s Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship for Innovation in Digital History. The award will be presented at the 2010 AHA Conference in San Diego this coming January.

The Digital Harlem website presents information, drawn from legal records, newspapers and other archival and published sources, about everyday life in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood in the years 1915-1930.

Digital Harlem is an element of the project, Black Metropolis: Harlem, 1915-1930, which was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant. Unlike most studies of Harlem in the early twentieth century, this project focuses not on black artists and the black middle class, but on the lives of ordinary African New Yorkers. It does so primarily by using legal records, which encompass not only hardened criminals but also first offenders, ordinary residents acting out of desperation, poverty or anger, and which reveal all manner of things that would not ordinarily be labeled ‘criminal’– street life, black language, music, family life – as well as evidence of the role of gambling, violence and confidence men in the black community.

The Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship for Innovation (more…)