Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

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Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
Established 1994
Location Fairfax, Virginia, United States
Affiliations George Mason University

Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM), formerly the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) is a research institution in the George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia specializing in history and information technology. It was established by Roy Rosenzweig in 1994 to research and use digital media and information technology in historical research, education, digital tools and resources, digital preservation, and outreach.

Digital preservation[edit]

Center for History and New Media Offices

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Center for History and New Media in partnership with the American Social History Project at the City University of New York organized the September 11 Digital Archive with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.[1] With the September 11 Digital Archive, CHNM and ASHP utilized electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the past, with a digital repository of material including more than 150,000 first-hand accounts, emails, images, and other digital materials. This project has inspired a new project, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, which is collecting the stories and digital artifacts related to the Hurricane Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.[2] CHNM continues to explore methods, tools, and technologies for archiving and preserving information, data, and documents digitally.

Educational resources[edit]

The Center for History and New Media worked in partnership with the American Social History Project (ASHP) at the City University of New York, to develop an online resource directed at American History teachers, along with online resources about the French Revolution. More recent projects have focused on developing online educational resources about World History, and a project on historical thinking, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. CHNM is also involved with educational outreach with teachers in Virginia school districts.

CHNM has also developed a number of online databases and other resources for historians and history teachers, including a listing of 1,200 history departments worldwide, a practical guide to Digital History, a collection of essays on history and new media. Another online database is Making the History of 1989, which chronicles the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.[3] Created in collaboration with the German Historical Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the 1989 Project is powered by CHNM's Omeka software, and includes resources for teachers and students, ranging from lesson plans to an archive of primary source materials.

CHNM collaborated with the Jewish Women’s Archive on Katrina’s Jewish Voices, a virtual archive of stories, images, and reflections about the New Orleans and Gulf Coast Jewish communities before and after Hurricane Katrina.

Software resources[edit]

Community area of the center

CHNM is responsible for the development of two notable open source software projects: Zotero and Omeka. Zotero is reference management software which is used by academics to read and cite the academic literature. Omeka is a content management system that uses the Dublin Core metadata standard to build digital collections and publish digital exhibits. Both projects are free, and reflect CHNM's dedication to democratizing the practice of history.

The Center for History and New Media also distributes a set of free additional digital tools for historians and teachers, including Web Scrapbook, Survey Builder, Scribe (a note taking application designed with historians in mind), Poll Builder, H-Bot (an automated historical fact finder), and Syllabus Finder, which allows you to find and compare syllabi from thousands of universities and colleges on any topic, using the Google search engine.


Projects like Zotero provide tools for historians to research and analyze the past. But will digital media change the nature of scholarly argument, communication, and publication? In order to encourage experimentation in this arena, American Quarterly in collaboration with the American Studies Crossroads Project and CHNM organized an experiment in hypertext publishing.[4] Four essays, covering such diverse topics as photos, as legal evidence, the Spanish–American War in film, early comic strips, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, offer contrasting approaches to using digital media for scholarly presentations.[5]

Imaging the French Revolution is another experiment in digital scholarship. In a series of essays, seven scholars analyze forty-two images of crowds and crowd violence in the French Revolution. Offering the most relevant examples and comments from an on-line forum, those same scholars consider issues of interpretation, methodology, and the impact of digital media on scholarship.[6]

Finally, Interpreting the Declaration of Independence by Translation[7] is a roundtable of historians brought together to discuss the translation and reception of the Declaration of Independence in Japan, Mexico, Russia, China, Poland, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Israel. In addition to these reflections, the site includes actual translations of the Declaration into several different languages and "re-translations" back into English to illustrate the effects of translation on how a key historical document has been understood.

Public outreach[edit]

CHNM has also developed some projects with an explicit focus on broad, public audiences. Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives[8] is a web-based exhibit funded by NEH and being developed in collaboration with the Gulag Museum in Perm, Russia, will provide a multifaceted consideration of the human struggle for survival in the Gulag, the brutal and often lethal Soviet system of forced labor concentration camps. History News Network[9] features articles, placing current events in historical perspective, written by historians of all political persuasions.

Name change[edit]

On April 15, 2011, the Center for History and New Media became the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, in memory of its founder.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the September 11 Digital Archive". 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  2. ^ "About the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank". Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  3. ^ "Making the History of 1989". Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  4. ^ Rosenzweig, Roy (1999-06-01). "Crashing the System? Hypertext and Scholarship on American Culture". American Quarterly. 51 (2): 237–246. doi:10.1353/aq.1999.0029. ISSN 1080-6490. 
  5. ^ "Hypertext Scholarship in American Studies". Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  6. ^ "Imaging the French Revolution". Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  7. ^ "Interpreting the Declaration of Independence by Translation". Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  8. ^ "Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives | Home". Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  9. ^ "History News Network". Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]