Guide to Digital History Published by CHNM Staff Members

The University of Pennsylvannia Press has just published Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web by Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig. Cohen is Director of Research Projects at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) and Rosenzweig is Director and founder of CHNM. The book can be purchased online from Amazon but is also available for free on the CHNM website.

The book provides a plainspoken and thorough introduction to the web for historians – teachers and students, archivists and museum curators, professors as well as amateur enthusiasts – who wish to produce online historical work, or to build upon and improve the projects they have already started in this important new medium. It begins with an overview of the different genres of history websites, surveying a range of digital history work that has been created since the beginning of the web. The book then takes the reader step-by-step through planning a project, understanding the technologies involved and how to choose the appropriate ones, designing a site that is both easy-to-use and scholarly, digitizing materials in a way that makes them web-friendly while preserving their historical integrity, and how to reach and respond (more…)

Department of Education awards Loudoun County Public Schools and CHNM new Teaching American History Grant

The Department of Education awarded CHNM another Teaching American History grant in partnership with Loudoun County Public Schools. Loudoun County is now one of the nine county school systems, including Alexandria City, Fauquier, Fairfax, Clarke, Culpeper, Frederick, Manassas City, Orange, and Winchester, that CHNM works with to strengthen teachers content knowledge in Virginia and U.S. history and skills in teaching history. The grant, serving 150 teachers and 44,000 students in Loudoun, provides instruction divided into two cohorts. The first includes workshops, summer learning institutes and lectures by prominent historians focused on Virginia history as U.S. history, including Native American life in the Chesapeake; the legacy of George Washington; and slavery and reconstruction, including the Civil War and post-Civil War life. The second cohort, open to teachers in all grades as well as English as Second Language (ESL) and special education teachers, will feature a 2-day summer workshop and five school year workshops.

Completed World History Sources Project

This summer CHNM completed the NEH-funded World History Sources, a website focused on the learning and teaching of world history with primary sources. The site features: Finding World History, a guide to the 200 best online primary source archives in world history; Unpacking Evidence, eight guides to analyzing primary sources as part of world history; Analyzing Documents, eight multimedia models of scholars analyzing primary sources, designed to make the work of historians experienced in world history sources more visible; and Teaching Sources, case studies in which experienced classroom teachers offer a look “behind the scenes” into planning and teaching primary sources in world history. We plan to continue our work in world history, refining and broadening the site’s content and accessibility. Visit the site here:

IMLS awards funding for “Firefox Scholar” and “The Object of History”

CHNM is pleased to announce two new awards from the Institute for Museum and Library Services for Firefox Scholar and The Object of History.

The Object of History, a joint project of CHNM and the Smithsonian Institution�s National Museum of American History, will develop a new model for bringing museum objects and expertise to students in remote classrooms and for teaching them how to engage and analyze these artifacts. Through virtual representations and interpretations of iconic objects chosen from the NMAH collection, students will learn about key themes in American history. CHNM plans to develop six interactive web-based object lessons and virtual field trips that provide not only an educational resource for students and teachers nationwide but also provide a cost-effective, innovative, and replicable model for history museums seeking new ways to educate audiences and disseminate collections.

Firefox Scholar, a collaboration with the Virtual Library of Virginia, will create a set of free, open source web browser tools, which will enhance scholars� access to and use of digital library and museum collections. Firefox Scholar operates within the browser window and allows users to recognize and capture metadata from online objects, collect documents, images, and citations from the web. Firefox Scholar will relieve libraries (more…)

Public hearing for new CHNM project: “Virginia History Here”

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University will host a public hearing to consider its planned proposal to the Virginia Deptartment of Transportation’s enhancement program for a new project, “Virginia History Here.” The project plans to use new mobile communications technologies to improve access to Northern Virginia’s rich stock of historical roadside markers. The meeting will be held at George Mason University on October 3rd in Student Union Building I, Room C, from 7pm-9pm.

Please contact Heather Velez with any questions at (703)993-4585.

NEH awards funding for “Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives”

The Center for History and New Media and the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University are excited to announce that we have received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create a premier bi-lingual Russian-English interactive web-based exhibit entitled, “Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives.”

Drawing on the research of historian Steven Barnes at GMU, this web exhibit will provide an innovative, multifaceted consideration of the human struggle for survival in the Gulag, the brutal and often lethal Soviet system of forced labor concentration camps and internal exile. The Gulag was an inhuman system that consumed millions of lives, and the web exhibit will reveal that stark brutality while engaging the public to think about the diversity of the Gulag experience, the ethical quandaries of survival in extreme situations, and the difficulties entailed in overcoming the legacy of past injustice.

“Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives” will provide visitors with a clear, accessible, and engaging history – accompanied by rich visual, audio, and film resources and grounded in the most recent scholarship.

Echo site chosen as Voice of America’s “Website of the Week”

August 20, 2005 : The Center for History and New Media is happy to announce that Our World, Voice of America’s weekly science and technology magazine, selected Echo as their “Website of the Week.” Art Chimes, the host of Our World, discussed the dynamic and diverse nature of Echo with Dan Cohen, CHNM’s Director of Research Projects, and pointed out Echo’s unique features which provide users with the means to research, collect, and build history online.

To listen to the broadcast, visit here. For a transcript, visit here.

Speech Accent Archive relaunched

The Center for History and New Media, Technology Across the Curriculum Program, and the Linguistics Program in the Department of English are pleased to announce the release of a newly designed and expanded website: the speech accent archive. Originally started by Professor Steven Weinberger in 1998, the speech accent archive uniformly presents a large set of speech samples from a variety of language backgrounds. Native and non-native speakers of English read the same paragraph and are carefully transcribed. The archive is used by people who wish to compare and analyze the accents of different English speakers. The archive currently houses over 400 speech samples and continues to accept submissions.

Rosenzweig on Digital Archives in Chronicle of Higher Education

CHNM Director, Roy Rosenzweig appears in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education with a column entitled Digital Archives Are a Gift of Wisdom to Be Used Wisely. In the article, Rosenzweig argues that it is not enough to digitize sources and build archives. Rather, the librarians, archivists, and scholars who create digital resources must also take measures to insure they remain accessible to all and to help students make sense of what they find there. As examples of this approach, Rosenzweig points to several CHNM projects, including History Matters, World History Matters, and CHNM’s forthcoming project, Historical Thinking Matters, which will scaffold primary sources in a way that encourages students to check sources, corroborate evidence, and contextualize it.

Alexandria schools recognize CHNM and GMU

The Center for History and New Media and the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University have received an award from Alexandria City Public Schools for “commitment and dedication to the students of Alexandria City Public Schools” for their work with ACPS teachers through the Creating a More Perfect Community project.

Creating a More Perfect Community is a Teaching American History grant awarded to Alexandria City Public Schools and funded by the United States Department of Education. A partnership with George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media and the Office of Historic Alexandria, this grant is an exceptional professional development opportunity for teachers to improve their content knowledge through a year-long study.

In a city where students come from 75 different countries this project seeks to create a stronger sense of community through a deeper understanding of history. The project includes six workshops and a summer seminar featuring university historians, four book discussions, visits to historic sites, and the opportunity for teachers to participate in a professional community to enhance their instructional skills to work successfully with students.