Jon Stewart Hosts CHNM’s Rick Shenkman on the Daily Show

On June 11, 2008, the editor of CHNM’s History News Network, Rick Shenkman, appeared on Comedy Central’s the Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss his recent work, Just How Stupid are We: The Truth About the American Voter.  A current bestseller on, Just How Stupid are We cites disturbing statistics that Shenkman believes reveal Americans simply do not know much about politics.

When only 2 out of 5 citizens are able to name the three branches of the federal government, only 1 in 7 can find Iraq on a world map, and the majority believe the war in Iraq was caused by Saddam Hussein’s involvement with Al-Qaeda, Shenkman questions the ability of American voters to make intelligent and informed decisions for guiding the world’s most powerful government.

Shenkman further suggests that the majority of American voters are not only unaware of current events and unable to differentiate between facts and spin, but they simply do not care to learn more if it involves reading a newspaper or book rather than absorbing their news from entertaining network news shows.

Speaking with Jon Stewart, Shenkman questioned the depth of the news presented on television, including the Daily Show, and pointed to the host’s responsibility to (more…)

Gulag History Site Launches

The Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce the launch of Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives, a new online resource exploring the history of the Soviet Gulag.The project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities; Title VIII, The U.S. Department of State; Kennan Institute; and Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University; and was produced in association with the Gulag Museum at Perm 36, Perm, Russia and the International Memorial Society, Moscow, Russia.

Many Days, Many Lives draws visitors into the Gulag’s history through bilingual exhibits (English and Russian), a rich archive, a series of podcasts, and other resources. Exhibits are presented with a thematic approach that illustrates the diversity of the Gulag experience through original mini-documentaries, images, and the words of individual prisoners. A searchable archive includes archival documents, photographs, paintings, drawings, and oral histories that give visitors the opportunity to explore the subject in much greater depth. Later this summer, Many Days, Many Lives will also feature a virtual visit to the Gulag Museum at Perm 36.

In addition, this site offers a variety of resources related to the study of the Gulag. Episodes in Gulag History is a new (more…)

CHNM Launches National History Education Clearinghouse

The National History Education Clearinghouse, an online project that brings U.S. history teachers high-quality support and resources, has been launched by George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media (CHNM) and project partner Stanford University. The clearinghouse is now available to the public at

In October 2007, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a $7 million contract, if fully funded over five years, to CHNM, in partnership with Stanford University, the American Historical Association, and the National History Center. The online project focuses on historical thinking and learning and is designed to help K-12 history teachers become more effective educators, thereby expanding student knowledge of U.S. history and its relevance to their daily lives and future. The clearinghouse provides links to the most informative and comprehensive history content on the Internet. It also provides teaching tools and resources such as lesson plan reviews, guides to working with primary sources and models of exemplary classroom teaching. The clearinghouse will link to a number of national history education organizations and associations. The website is interactive, allowing teachers to ask questions, comment on topical issues and share information on what and how they teach.

“The National History Education Clearinghouse will put into the hands (more…)

CHNM to host inaugural THATCamp, May 31 – June 1, 2008

CHNM is pleased to announce its latest initiative, THATCamp.

Short for “The Humanities and Technology Camp”, THATCamp is a BarCamp-style, user-generated “unconference” on digital humanities. THATCamp is organized and hosted by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, Digital Campus, and THATPodcast.

What is an “unconference”?

According to Wikipedia, an unconference is “a conference where the content of the sessions is created and managed by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by one or more organizers in advance of the event.” An unconference is not a spectator event. Participants in an unconference are expected to present their work, share their knowledge, and actively collaborate with fellow participants rather than simply attend. There are many styles of unconferences. The most famous is probably BarCamp, an international network of unconference events focused largely on open source web development.

What should I present?

That’s up to you. Sessions at THATCamp will range from full-blown papers (not many of those, we hope) to software demos to training sessions to debates to discussions of research findings to half-baked rants. You should come to THATCamp with something in mind, and on the first day find a time, a place, and people to (more…)

New ECHO Gateway for the History of Science, Technology, and Industry

The Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce the relaunch of the ECHO (Exploring and Collecting History Online) website. ECHO is a portal to over 5,000 websites concerning the history of science, technology, and industry. In addition to better helping researchers find the exact information they need and granting curious browsers a forum for exploration, the new site also provides access to the latest in blogging on the topics of digital history and histories of science, technology and industry.

The project is based at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. ECHO has been funded by two generous grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

CHNM and American Historical Association Announce New Prize

Roy Rosenzweig Prize in History and New Media Established in Professor’s Memory

The Center for History and New Media (CHNM) and the American Historical Association (AHA) have agreed to institute a joint “Roy Rosenzweig Prize in History and New Media.” The Rosenzweig Prize will be awarded annually for an innovative and freely available new media project that reflects thoughtful, critical, and rigorous engagement with technology and the practice of history.

Roy Rosenzweig died from cancer on 11 October 2007. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and lectured as a Fulbright professor. As the AHA’s Vice President for Research, he urged the Association to open all book prizes to publications in new media form. The Rosenzweig Prize will be the first to specifically recognize contributions developed in digital form to the profession at large.

In 2005, Rosenzweig’s Web-based project, History Matters earned him and CHNM the James Harvey Robinson Prize of the American Historical Association. In 2003, he was awarded the second Richard W. Lyman Award for his work with CHNM, particularly History Matters and the September 11 Digital Archive.

The AHA and the CHNM together will select members of the prize selection committee and develop prize guidelines. The award winners will be announced (more…)

Cohen, Zotero appear in Washington Post

CHNM’s Zotero project and CHNM’s Director, Dan Cohen both appeared on Page A1 in Sunday’s Washington Post over the weekend. Entitled “Internet Access Is Only Prerequisite For More and More College Classes,” the front page article examined new trends in online education at institutions of higher learning across the country. Commenting on Zotero in particular and new campus technology initiatives in general, Cohen was quoted as saying “It’s part of this movement in higher education to open up … to share the products of our research, to be here for the public good.”

Zotero joins forces with Internet Archive, wins major grant

Although libraries have dedicated much of their time to scanning and cataloguing their materials for online access, both the expense and time of such projects have prevented many documents from being readily available.

Yet, in many cases, these documents have been scanned, copied or photographed by someone, somewhere. Virtually every professor, graduate student and author maintains major private caches of these materials from their own research. Biographers have scores of letters, pictures and ephemera. Architects and architectural historians have photographs of buildings from around the world. Scholars of literature have scanned diaries and manuscripts for insights into the writing process of those they study.

“This ‘hidden archive’ likely rivals existing online collections,” says Dan Cohen, director of the Center for History and New Media (CHNM). “We asked: What if there was a way to expose and share this tremendous hidden archive with scholars from around the globe?”

And now there is. CHNM has joined forces with the Internet Archive on a project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to provide what could potentially be the world’s largest structured archival and access environment for scholarly material.

Introduced last year as open-source software that works within the popular Firefox web browser, the CHNM’s Zotero stores (more…)

Omeka Hits Milestone

Omeka, CHNM’s new free and open source platform for publishing collections and exhibitions online, hit a major milestone with the launch of Release Candidate 4 (RC4). Designed for cultural institutions, enthusiasts, and educators, Omeka is easy to install and modify and facilitates community-building around collections and exhibits. It is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content rather than programming.

Three months from its initial beta release, Omeka is already in use by institutions around the country, including the Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film and Virginia Tech’s April 16 Archive.

Omeka features:

  • Dublin Core metadata structure and standards-based design that is fully accessible and interoperable
  • Professional-looking exhibit templates that showcase collections without hiring outside designers
  • Theme-switching for changing the look and feel of an exhibit in a few clicks
  • Plug-ins for user contributions, batch upload, and a host of other possibilities
  • Web 2.0 Technologies, including tagging and syndication through RSS feeds.

Omeka is currently in private beta. If you are interested in getting on the invitation list to download and test Omeka, please email the Omeka team, which will notify you when there are additional spaces for this testing period. Omeka will be available for general public download in early-2008.