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George Mason's Center for History and New Media Wins Prestigious Mellon Award for Software Project

Dec. 8, 2008

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FAIRFAX, Va.--The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University received a $50,000 Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC) for Omeka, a software project that greatly simplifies and beautifies the online publication of collections and exhibits. The award was given at the Coalition for Networked Information meeting Dec. 8 in Washington, D.C.

MATC awards recognize not-for-profit organizations that are making substantial contributions of their own resources toward the development of open source software and the fostering of collaborative communities to sustain open source development.

Omeka is a free and open source web publishing platform for scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, educators and cultural enthusiasts. Its "five-minute setup" makes launching an online exhibition as easy as launching a blog. Omeka is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content and interpretation rather than programming. It brings Web 2.0 technologies and approaches to academic and cultural web sites to foster user interaction and participation. It makes top-shelf design easy with a simple and flexible templating system. Its robust open-source developer and user communities underwrite Omeka's stability and sustainability.

"Until now, scholars and cultural heritage professionals looking to publish collections-based research and online exhibitions required either extensive technical skills or considerable funding for outside vendors," said Tom Scheinfeldt, project co-lead and managing director of CHNM. "By making standards-based, serious online publishing easy, Omeka puts the power and reach of the web in the hands of academics and cultural professionals."

Scheinfeldt accepted the award from Vinton Cerf, vice president and chief internet evangelist at Google, who chaired the blue-ribbon prize committee. The committee also included Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web; John Gage, chief researcher and director of the Science Office at Sun Microsystems, Inc.; Mitchell Baker, CEO of the Mozilla Corporation; Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media; John Seely Brown, former chief scientist at Xerox Corp.; Ira Fuchs, vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and Donald J. Waters, program officer in the Program in Scholarly Communication at the Mellon Foundation.

About the Center for History and New Media

Since 1994, the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University 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. CHNM combines cutting edge digital media with the latest and best historical scholarship to promote an inclusive and democratic understanding of the past as well as broad historical literacy. CHNM’s work has been recognized with major awards and grants from the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education, the Library of Congress, and the Sloan, Mellon, Hewlett, Rockefeller, Gould, Delmas and Kellogg foundations.

About George Mason University
Named the #1 national university to watch by U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, dance, organizational psychology and health care, Mason students are routinely recognized with national and international scholarships. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage.

 

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