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Title: American Association for History and Computing Multimedia, Article, and Book Awards
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
November 2000

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Source: American Association for History and Computing Multimedia, Article, and Book Awards

vol. 3, no. 3, November 2000
Article Type: Notice

American Association for History and Computing Multimedia, Article, and Book Awards

The American Association for History and Computing is pleased to announce the recipients of its 1999 Multimedia, Article, and Book Awards, which were presented at the association's annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA on April 25.

The AAHC Prize for the Best Multimedia Resource in History was awarded to The New Deal Network (

The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) launched The New Deal Network (NDN) in October, 1996 as a research and teaching resource devoted to the public works and arts projects of the New Deal. The NDN is now based at the Institute for Learning Technologies (ILT) at Columbia University. The project seeks to make the most of the interactive, communications and publication capacities of the Internet. Its designers intend to bring many different institutions and individuals into the ongoing construction of the site and to stimulate students and historians throughout the United States to discover and document the human and material legacy of the New Deal.

The core of the NDN is a database of photographs, political cartoons, and texts (speeches, letters, and other historic documents from the New Deal period). Currently there are over 20,000 items in this database, many of them previously accessible only to scholars. Unlike many databases on the Web, which represent the holdings of a particular institution, NDN is drawing from a wide variety of sources around the country to create a theme-based archive.

Every few months the staff adds new "Features" which explore New Deal topics. Each feature contains a link to a curriculum kit in the "Classroom" area of the site which is especially designed for middle and high school teachers and students. Teachers can use these curriculum kits, which are designed by teachers or educational consultants, to plan classes around the feature topic. Students at any level will find the site an invaluable resource for research projects on the Depression and the New Deal. In addition, NDN invites teachers and students to document WPA and CCC projects in their communities and to report their findings by producing their own Web pages linked to NDN.

Their plan is to create and respond to a network of institutions and individuals studying the Depression and the New Deal and to incorporate or link contributions developed by students, historians, and other institutions to NDN. By employing the Internet in this manner, we will be creating a national learning community on the history of the New Deal period which will have both educational and policy-making value.

The NDN staff consists of Thomas Thurston, an historian who serves as the Project Director, and Dick Parsons, a curriculum developer. John Sears, Executive Director of FERI acts as Executive Producer.

The AAHC Prize for the Best Article was awarded to Deborah Lines Andersen, "Academic Historians, Electronic Information Access Technologies, and the World Wide Web: A Longitudinal Study of Factors Affecting Use and Barriers to that Use" (The Journal of the Association for History and Computing, Vol. I, No. 1., June 1998;

In this article, Andersen analyzes longitudinal research conducted between 1992 and 1998 that followed the technological progress of 94 academic historians at the four University Centers of the State University of New York at Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook, concentrating particularly on their use and non-use of electronic information access technologies. A combination of mailed surveys and on-site interviews uncovered lack of time, instruction and information as the primary barriers to the use of these technologies, while fear of lost productivity through time spent learning and using electronic technologies also surfaced as a barrier. Academic historians nonetheless felt almost universally by 1996 that electronic information access technologies such as word processing and electronic mail were critical to their missions, especially when these technologies allowed for verification of bibliographic citations or documents in particular archival collections. Furthermore, while use of World Wide Web resources for teaching was nonexistent in 1992, plans existed at all four sites in 1996 to create home pages not only for departments but for individual instruction, and sites were in place by 1997. Critical success factors that surfaced from the research included the need for departmental mandates and support, as well as the need to provide specialized instruction and information to historians in their academic, research and administrative roles.

The AAHC Prize for the Best Book published in 1998 was awarded to Brian Winston's Media Technology and Society: A History: From the Telegraph to the Internet (London: Routledge, 1998).

In this widely researched history of communication and information technologies from the printing press to the Internet, Brian Winston argues that the development of new media forms is the product of a constant interplay between social necessity and suppression. Winston's monograph asks difficult questions: How are new media born? How do they change? And how do they change us? He concludes that the Information Revolution is not revolutionary. Current technologies are merely elaborating a process of change begun much earlier, and historical study of these alterations offers many insights into the potential effects of today's latest developments.

About the American Association for History and Computing:

The American Association for History and Computing (AAHC) was founded to promote discussion and exploration of the reasonable and productive union of history and computer technologies. To support and further its goals, the AAHC sponsors a number of activities, including an annual meeting, an electronic journal—the Journal of the American Association for History and Computing (JAHC), a continuing publication series, and a variety of summer workshops.

The association welcomes members from any endeavor relating to history, and anyone interested in the aims of the association is encouraged to join.

For more information on the American Association for History and Computing or the 1999 prizes, please contact:

Dennis A. Trinkle
Executive Director, AAHC
Department of History
East College
DePauw University
Greencastle, IN 46135


Ken Dvorak
Secretary/Treasurer, AAHC
American Studies Program
East Hall
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43402