Apply Now for Doing Digital History 2016

Are you a mid-career American historian interested in digital history training for novices?

Apply now for one of 25 available spots for the Doing Digital History: 2016 summer institute to be held July 11- 22, 2016 at George Mason University. The institute is organized by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History in New Media and generously sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities.

Doing Digital History: 2016 is designed to address the existing gap in digital history training for established scholars who need instruction and a professional learning community to explore digital methodologies and theories applicable to their historical research and teaching. During the summer of 2014, RRCHNM ran the first Doing Digital History institute also sponsored by the NEH.

Institute Directors Sharon Leon and Sheila Brennan will be joined by experts in the digital history and humanities fields who will guest lecture throughout the institute.

We seek applications from established faculty, public historians, archivists, librarians, museum professionals, and independent scholars specializing in US history, who have had very limited or no training in using digital methods and tools, or in computing, and who lack a supportive digital community at their home institutions.

Applications will be open until March 15, 2016: http://history2016.doingdh.org/apply/

Digital History Fellowships for Fall 2016

A reminder that the Department of History & Art History at George Mason University is offering two Digital History Fellowships to support students undertaking a Ph.D.

Fellows enrolling in Fall 2016 will receive stipends of $20,000 for two years, during which time they will take a practicum course each semester here at RRCHNM, and then a further three years of support from the Department of History and Art History. The practicum courses provide an opportunity to be part of a digital history center and to contribute to a range of projects across all three of the Center’s divisions. Syllabi for the practicum courses can be found on the Fellows’ blog, which also includes posts by all four cohorts of fellows reflecting on their experiences at the Center.

Students interested in applying to the GMU History PhD program and being a Digital history Fellow, should consult the information on the department website or contact the department’s graduate director, Professor Cindy Kierner. Applications close January 15, 2016

RRCHNM Wins Mason Distance Education Award

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media received a Distance Education Award for its work conceptualizing and creating a new online course, “Introduction to Digital Humanities.” Steve Nodine, Director of Distance Education, presented the award at the Mason Outstanding Achievement Awards on November 3, 2015.

DE_Award

The RRCHNM team was recognized for working collaboratively to establish “a new model that can inspire all of Mason.” This innovative course includes synchronous online class sessions, synchronous individual meetings between student and instructor, and asynchronous modules. There are no textbooks, video lectures, or multiple-choice quizzes. Content consists of readings, short videos, interactive activities, and a culminating digital project.

“Introduction to Digital Humanities” is the first course in a 15-credit online certificate program in Digital Public Humanities. The team is currently developing two additional certificate with instructors Sharon Leon and Mills Kelly. The certificate includes a 6-credit digital internship with the Smithsonian Institution, the first of its kind at Mason.

Award recipients: Kelly Schrum (Project Director); Stephen Robertson (Course Professor); Jennifer Rosenfeld (Project Manager); James McCartney (Senior Developer); Chris Preperato (Interactive & Multimedia Developer); Joo-Ah Lee (Junior Developer); and Caroline Kelly (Undergraduate OSCAR Research Assistant).

Congratulations all!

Building Histories of the National Mall

We are pleased to announce the publication of Building Histories of the National Mall: A Guide to Creating a Digital Public History Project (http://mallhistory.org/Guide), a comprehensive guide that details each phase of creating the award-winning website, Histories of the National Mall. The text showcases the voices of project team members, who authored specific sections that demonstrate the range and breadth of the collaboration and cooperation that produced mallhistory.org.

This guide goes beyond a traditional case study by sharing the project’s rationale; the interpretative approach; the specifics of the design, development, and outreach–including our social media strategy–;  and the research that drove these different stages of development. For example, our decision to build for the mobile web and not a single-use, platform-specific native app was based in research begun by Sharon Leon and Sheila Brennan in 2009 with funding from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to review and experiment with mobile formats pertinent for art and cultural heritage collections. Additionally, readers will learn how the team’s user testing regiment greatly influenced the final site structure, design, and content of Histories of the National Mall.

For someone eager to begin developing her own version of Histories using Omeka, the technical specifications and code are available now. For organizations in the early planning stages of a project, this guide offers an open source and replicable example for history and cultural heritage professionals wanting a cost-effective solution for developing and delivering mobile content. The guide offers lessons learned and challenges we faced throughout the project’s development, and we discuss how we measured success for this specific project.

Building Histories of the National Mall belongs to the long tradition of knowledge sharing at RRCHNM that encourages history and humanities professionals to be active designers and builders of their own digital projects. This guide and the website, mallhistory.org, were generously funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

RRCHNM to build software to help researchers organize digital photographs

We are pleased to announce funding for a new project to develop a freely licensed and open-source software tool, called Tropy, which will allow archival researchers to collect and organize the digital photographs that they take in their research, associate metadata with those images, and export both photographs and metadata to other platforms. Generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Tropy will be led by Stephen Robertson and Sean Takats over the next two years.

The affordability of powerful digital cameras and the increasing willingness of libraries and archives to allow their use have produced a widespread need for this software. The difficulties of organizing and managing large collections of digital images familiar to us from our own experiences as researchers are well-documented in surveys of humanities research practices, blog posts and comments, and appeals on Twitter. In addressing this need, Tropy represents an extension of RRCHNM’s work building an infrastructure for digital scholarship, joining Zotero, Omeka, and PressForward.

Now under development, Tropy will ultimately let you import photographs, adjust them to ensure they are of adequate quality for your purposes, and attach metadata to those images, using a template. After import, you will also be able to batch-edit the metadata across multiple images, as well as edit individual images. In Tropy, images will be able to be organized via collections and/or tags, and accessed in a variety of ways: by browsing image collections and tags via list and thumbnail modes; by sorting these views using all available metadata, such as date, source archive, and title; and by searching across all available metadata, including notes.

All images stored in Tropy will be exportable to other applications on your computer and to external, web-based services (such as RRCHNM’s Omeka). We are particularly excited about the prospects that this offers for collaborations between researchers and the libraries and archives whose collections they are photographing. Institutions could provide metadata templates customized to their specific holdings. Researchers using those templates could share both images and item-level descriptions of collections, which institutions could then use in a variety of ways to enrich their catalogs, finding aids and digital collections.

We’ll be looking for input from both researchers and libraries and archives as we develop Tropy in the coming months. More news soon!

Scholars as Students: Outcomes from Doing Digital History 2014

During the summer of 2014, Sharon Leon and Sheila Brennan, joined by a team of graduate assistants and expert scholars, oversaw one of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media’s most recent efforts to offer professional development for mid-career scholars: the Doing Digital History (DoingDH) summer institute.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities, the institute offered 23 American Historians an opportunity to undertake a two-week immersion in the theories and methods of digital history. The results of the institute were impressive, with participants increasing their technical skills, their digital literacy, and their comfort with evaluating digital work:

doingdh-eval

As a follow-up to the face-to-face institute experience, we are now publishing a whitepaper that lays out the pedagogical approach to DoingDH, evaluates the experience, and includes the detailed curriculum employed during the institute: Scholars as Students: Introductory Digital History Training for Mid-Career Historians (PDF).

This work builds upon over a decade of innovation and experimentation with professional development at RRCHNM. Just as our workshop sessions at disciplinary conferences, bootcamp sessions at THATCamp unconferences, and a range of longer training experiences have been designed to offer replicable models, we hope that DoingDH will be a jumping-off point for those working to build the digital capacities of our communities of practice. We invite you to review the work and outcomes of the institute and consider the ways that you might put these materials to good use in creating training opportunities for mid-career faculty, curators, librarians, archivists, and staff in your own institutions.

Finally, based on the success and lessons learned in the 2014 DoingDH institute, RRCHNM is offering another DoingDH institute in the summer of 2016, again with the generous support of NEH-ODH.  Soon, we will post a form for anyone interested in being notified when applications open for the 2016 institute. We will announce it on the RRCHNM blog and tweet it from @chnm.

Library of Congress Selects the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media for K-12 Interactive Development

We are proud to announce that the Library of Congress has selected the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) at George Mason University to develop Eagle Eye Citizen — an engaging, online and mobile-friendly interactive for K-12 students focused on Congress and civic participation.

Working in collaboration with National History Day and educational media designer Big Yellow Taxi, we will develop a project that draws students into careful analysis of Library of Congress resources, including Congress.gov and Chronicling America. The project team will work with the Library’s Teaching with Primary Sources program to develop the project.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to create interactives for a range of K-12 learning environments with the goal of cultivating and promoting civic education and civic participation in the twenty-first century,” said Kelly Schrum, Director of Educational Projects at RRCHNM and an Associate Professor at George Mason University.

RRCHNM was one of three groups selected out of 33 applications. “We are excited to work with all three of the organizations selected to develop the online interactives and mobile apps,” said Lee Ann Potter, Director of Educational Outreach for the Library of Congress. “The proposals they submitted reflected both creativity and enthusiasm for providing students with engaging tools to learn about Congress and civic participation.”

In addition to developing online interactives, the project includes outreach to teachers and students, a national contest, and teacher professional development opportunities in partnership with National History Day. “Engaging students in historical research is an important part of developing the skills necessary for civic participation,” said National History Day Executive Director Cathy Gorn. “National History Day is excited to bring our expertise in history education to this project.”

For more information about the Library of Congress educational initiative on Congress and civic participation, please visit http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2015/15-158.html.

10 Years After Katrina, the Enduring Value of the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank

Home in New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward

Home in New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward

Ten years ago, we knew as historians that we couldn’t assess fully the social, cultural, economic, and political implications of the devastating hurricanes in the summer of 2005. We did know that previous natural disasters had profound consequences. The 1927 Mississippi River Flood, for example, further fueled African American migration to northern industrial cities, and paved the way for federal intervention in southern states during the New Deal. Documenting the reactions and memories of individuals affected by Katrina, and then Rita, along the Gulf Coast, took on an urgency soon after the storms hit.

Michael Mizell-Nelson, the late-public historian from the University of New Orleans, reached out to CHNM’s late-director Roy Rosenzweig to discuss the possibilities of creating a community-sourced digital project to document the aftermath and recovery of Hurricane Katrina. With so many residents relocating, collecting online gave anyone who had been displaced an opportunity to share their reflections and document their stories. This became even more important following Hurricane Rita three weeks later, when some Gulf Coast residents evacuated a second time, some never returning home.

The Center collaborated with the University of New Orleans to form a team that built (more…)

Are You Interested in, Inspired by, or Curious about Digital Humanities?

Or perhaps a little of all three! To help you figure it out, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) is offering Introduction to Digital Humanities, a new online course taught by RRCHNM Director Dr. Stephen Robertson.

The course provides an introduction to the field of digital humanities, and to digital tools for text analysis, mapping, network graphing, and presenting material online. Explore blogs, wikis, and social media and how these platforms have been used for publication, communication and collaboration. The course emphasizes hands-on work, including creating an individual digital project.

This fully online course includes synchronous online meetings and asynchronous modules. A great opportunity for those in museums, libraries, archives, public history, and education to explore new approaches and learn new skills.

Please visit Mason Online to apply and learn more.

Building a Digital Portfolio with Art History Graduate Students

For two weeks in July, RRCHNM hosted an enthusiastic group of 20 art history graduate students for an intensive digital humanities training institute funded by the Getty Foundation. Students were selected for Building a Digital Portfolio from a competitive pool of international applicants. The cohort of participants represented many sub-fields and were each working at different stages of their academic careers in universities in the United States, Canada, Germany, and the UK.

Small groups work together on a day learning about models and modeling.

Small groups work together on a day learning about models and modeling.

Co-Directors, Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon, structured the institute to introduce participants to the digital humanities and digital art history communities and the most current digital scholarship, methodologies, and projects. Assigned readings informed each day’s discussions, and tutorials led to hands-on experience with different tools and techniques and opportunities for students to apply these to their own research. Topics covered included metadata basics, collection building, modeling, mapping, data visualization, network graphing, community-sourcing, and digital publishing.

Building a Digital Portfolio 2015 cohort

Participants in Building a Digital Portfolio, July 2015

The institute team included faculty, staff, and graduate student mentors from RRCHNM and Mason’s History and Art History Department.
Mentors Gretchen Burgess, Jannelle Legg, and Spencer Roberts shared the responsibility (more…)