Digital Stories: Multimedia Narratives, Cultural Resources, and Humanities Knowledge

This spring’s Washington DC Area Forum on Technology and the Humanities, which will focus on new ways of representing humanities knowledge through short multimedia narrative. Authors of these multimedia narratives combine images, music and sound from personal and cultural archives, cultural institutions, popular culture, and their own research and interviews to produce short pieces, sometimes called digital stories.

Questions raised by this panel include:

– In what ways can humanities knowledge be expressed in short, multimedia-enabled, narrative forms?

– What are the advantages and disadvantages of this form?

– How can we represent cross-cultural and cultural understanding in these forms?

– What is the relationship between issues in multimedia literacy and the development of these new ways of making and presenting humanities knowledge?

– What is the role of cultural institutions and their archives (especially digital) in this work?

– What does it mean to have “amateurs” making this knowledge? How does this work relate to the work of “professionals” in the humanities academy, cultural institutions and public work?

Panelists Cecilia O’Leary (History, California State University-Monterey Bay), Bernie Cook (American Studies, Georgetown University), J.P. Singh (Communication, Culture & Technology, Georgetown University) and Michael Coventry (Communication, Culture & Technology & Visible Knowledge Project, Georgetown University) will show and discuss student-authored (more…)

Censer & CHNM Publish Electronic Article

Jack Censer (Chair of the CHNM Advisory Board) and Lynn Hunt (Eugen Weber professor of history at UCLA) have–in collaboration with five other scholars and CHNM–created an online scholarly article, “Imaging the French Revolution: Depictions of the French Revolutionary Crowd.” The American Historical Review has published the article, one of the very first digital articles to appear in the flagship journal of the American Historical Association.

The article includes the perspectives of six different scholars, both historians and art historians. Censer and Hunt explain that crowd actions have long been a subject of contention in the historiography of the French Revolution, but they contend that text-based sources have dominated the historiography. In contrast, the essays in this article take as their point of departure a bank of forty-two images selected to represent the variety of ways that crowds could be depicted. Censer and Hunt argue that visual evidence is particularly important in the case of the French Revolution: not only did thousands of images proliferate in a remarkable diversity of formats, but also those images often spoke to issues, such as crowd violence, that proved difficult for supporters of the Revolution to discuss frankly in speeches or newspaper articles. The electronic (more…)

Kelly Receives Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award

T. Mills Kelly, assistant professor of history and art history and associate director of the Center for History and New Media (CHNM), will receive a 2005 Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award (OFA), the commonwealth’s highest honor for faculty at Virginia’s colleges and universities. Kelly was the first honoree in the new category of Teaching with Technology. Gov. Mark Warner will recognize Kelly and 11 other educators in a ceremony in the Richmond State Capitol this morning.

Read more in the Mason Daily Gazette or click here to download the full article.

Echo exhibit reviewed in The Public Historian

A Thin Blue Line, CHNM’s online exhibition documenting the history of the pregnancy test kit is the subject of a website review published in the most recent issue of The Public Historian, the journal of the National Council on Public History. A Thin Blue Line is a collaboration between CHNM’s Echo project and the National Institutes of Health and features an online survey of visitor’s experiences with home pregancy tests.

Click here to read the review.

History Matters wins Robinson Prize

The American Historical Association has awarded the James Harvey Robinson Prize for “outstanding contribution to the teaching and learning of history” to History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web. History Matters was created by CHNM in collaboration with the American Social History Project at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

The award citation praised History Matters for being “an incredibly rich and ‘user friendly’ web site.” The prize committee found that History Matters “offers students and teachers an amazing array of online resources, ranging from expansive lists of annotated web sites, to annotated syllabi that take viewers behind the scenes to see how various classroom activities actually worked (or didn’t), to intensive guides of how to use various types of primary sources. As such, History Matters is a model of its kind presented in a highly attractive and easy-to-navigate format.”


New York Times columnist John Tierney discusses Rick Shenkman’s predictions about the presidential inaugural address. Shenkman is editor of CHNM’s History News Network.

Click here to read the article.

CHNM celebrates 10th anniversary

chnm-blogo-final.jpg From its humble origins in the mind “and on the personal computer” of a single historian at George Mason University to its current place as one of the most respected and visited Internet sources for history with nearly ten million visitors a year, the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) is proudly celebrating its tenth anniversary. Almost as old as the Web itself, since 1994 CHNM has used 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.

See for the full press release.

CHNM Director recognized for “excellence in the humanities”

In a ceremony held December 9, 2004 at Old Town Hall in Fairfax, Virginia, CHNM Director, Roy Rosenzweig was presented with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ Award for Excellence in the Humanities. The award recognizes citizens whose work – both professional and volunteer – has significantly benefited Virginians, and whose efforts embody the Virginia Foundation mission “to develop the civic, cultural, and intellectual life of the Commonwealth by creating learning opportunities for all Virginians – to bring the humanities fully into Virginia’s public life, assisting individuals and communities in their efforts to understand the past, confront important issues in the present, and shape a desirable future.” One of six recipients this year, Rosenzweig was singled out for the work he has done in the creation and development of CHNM and for his standing as a pioneer in the use of emerging technologies for the research, study, and teaching of history.

Download the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ press release.

Echo expands to include Collecting and Tools Centers

CHNM announces the launch of the new Echo Collecting Center and Tools Center, which join the Research Center and Resource Center to make Echo the most comprehensive website for collecting and presenting the history of science, technology, and industry online. The Collecting Center provides annotations and links to all the websites collecting history online and offers a Practical Guide to creating and managing online surveys. The Tools Center offers a collaborative directory of tools applicable to the practice of digital history, including CHNM’s own suite of tools that help teachers, students, and researchers to find, create, and manage digital materials.

Since 2001, Echo has used the Internet to collect and present the recent history of science, technology, and industry. As a laboratory for experimentation in this new and unperfected field, it has, among other objectives, worked to foster communication and dialogue among historians, scientists, engineers, doctors, and technologists. It also hosts free workshops and offer free consultation services to assist other historical practitioners in launching their own websites. In addition, Echo provides a centralized guide and portal for those seeking websites on the history of science and technology. This guide helps researchers find the exact information they need while also granting curious (more…)

Roy Rosenzweig discusses digital preservation in Investors Business Daily


NOVEMBER 9, 2004

Academics are creating repositories of information in cyberspace – and making the ivory tower more democratic in the process.

Preserving endangered languages is one example. Researchers look to catalog languages that are rarely spoken, so that the tongues won’t be lost to the

“People whose languages have ceased to be spoken have come to appreciate them afterward,” said Doug Whalen, a linguistics researcher at Haskins Laboratories, affiliated with Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

A record of the language, particularly a spoken record, is invaluable – especially if a tongue is disappearing.

Whalen says efforts to revive languages can be difficult because the communities that spoke them – mostly indigenous peoples – are often scattered.

Online access to materials is critical for academics studying languages and people who are trying to recover lost languages, he says.

The University of California, Berkeley, is working to get its endangered-language print and audio archives online for that reason.

Preserving languages has a huge societal benefit, according to Leanne Hinton, head of UC Berkeley’s linguistics department. The alternative would lead to losses at many levels, she says. “When we lose a language in the world, we’re losing a lot (more…)