Among the many things I’m thankful for in my professional life, today, I’m particularly grateful for for the difficult choices that I’ve had to make in the past several months, for the opportunities that I have had so far to work with such remarkable colleagues, and for the prospect of new opportunities and collaborations ahead.
For the past three years, I’ve worked alongside a talented and generous team at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. While no digital humanities center is exactly like any other, RRCHNM is a particularly special place. It has built (and continues to build) core, open-source, digital scholarship platforms like Zotero, Omeka, PressForward, and soon Tropy. It is the birthplace of THATCamp and the source of long-standing, highly-valuable content projects such as History Matters and The September 11 Digital Archive (to name only a few).
Regardless of how significant those projects are and will continue to be, what truly distinguishes RRCHNM are the people who work here. Not only are they uniquely qualified, insightful, and fun to work with, they continue to be dedicated to the mission that Roy set out for the center more than 20 years ago: “To use 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.” This has been a collaborative, collegial, and productive space in large part because Roy–whom I never met, but whose legacy looms large here–was uniquely talented at bringing together just the right combination of people to accomplish such ambitious goals. So, while RRCHNM may be most widely known for its projects, what makes it a truly remarkable place are the people who work here. I’m humbled by, proud of, and grateful for the opportunity to work alongside them because I’ve learned so much.
At RRCHNM, I had the opportunity to gather wide-ranging experiences from planning the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ signature conference, WebWise, to editing the Journal of Digital Humanities and Digital Humanities Now to co-authoring two PressForward grants awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to working with our very talented groups of Digital History Fellows and graduate assistants. Moreover, I’ve had the immeasurable pleasure of watching promising students like Amanda Regan and Amanda Morton gain professional confidence and skills alongside their academic achievements: be on the lookout for great things to come from them in the near future!
One of the things that excites me about joining The Graduate Center are the similarities it shares with RRCHNM. With the tagline “The life of the mind in the heart of the city,” CUNY’s unique, public-facing, city-oriented mission is in keeping with Roy’s belief in democratizing history through digital technologies. The GC’s digital initiatives demonstrate a like-minded commitment to a broad spectrum of public-oriented projects ranging from open-source scholarly communication platforms, like Manifold Scholarship and Commons In A Box, to shaping graduate educational experiences that encourage digital forms of scholarship and pedagogy.
Although I will miss my colleagues here at RRCHNM, I’m excited about the prospect of what comes next in my new role at The Graduate Center, where so much thoughtful support is being given by its administration to its digital initiatives. I look forward to becoming a part of the future of those initiatives, to working with similarly distinguished faculty and graduate students, and to the opportunity to grow as a digital humanities teacher, researcher, and administrator.