From the News column in the December 1999 Perspectives
News in Brief
AHA Staff, December 1999
The National Archives and Records Administration announces eight new units in the Digital Classroom section of its web site. The units address various historical issues and events that occurred between 1850 and 1900, including the Civil War, the Dawes Act, the World's Columbian Exposition, the Chinese boycott case, and child labor. All of the units correlate to national academic standards, reflect constitutional issues, and encourage the analysis of primary source documents.
Historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives inspire document analysis activities that lead to classroom simulations, mapping activities, creative writing assignments, cooperative learning exercises, and technology-based research projects as described in the units. In addition to the activities, each unit includes a historical background section that provides valuable contextual information about the featured documents.
These are the second set of units created by members of the Constitution Community, a curriculum development team composed of classroom teachers from across the country and education specialists at the National Archives. The first units, also available online at http:// www.nara.gov/education/cc, address issues and events from the period prior to the Civil War. The project is dedicated to educating the public about the foundations of democracy and Constitutional issues and is being funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the Government Information Technology Services Board Innovation Fund.
On December 1, 1999, Daniel Greenstein assumed office as director of the Digital Library Federation, a partnership of research libraries dedicated to maintaining, expanding, and preserving a distributed collection of digital materials for scholars and the public. It operates under the umbrella of the Council on Library and Information Resources in partnership with libraries and other organizations (including the AHA) to advocate collaborative approaches to preserving the nation's intellectual heritage and strengthening the many components of its information system.
Daniel Greenstein is the founding director of the Arts and Humanities Data Service in the United Kingdom, a distributed organization that builds digital collections of interest in the arts and humanities. He is also a founding codirector of the Resource Discovery Network, a service that seeks to enrich learning, research, and cultural engagement by facilitating access to high-quality Internet resources.
Fritz Stern, professor of history at Columbia University and a 50-year member of the AHA, has been awarded the prestigious Peace Prize at the Franfurt International Book Fair in October. Stern was born in Breslau, Poland, in 1926. In 1938, he fled with his parents to the United States to escape Nazi persecution. Among the many books Stern wrote are Gold and Iron and The Politics of Cultural Despair.
The AHA has established a new prize—for a major work in European intellectual and cultural history since the Renaissance—in memory of George L. Mosse, who died in January 1999.
Upon the initiative of Jeffrey Herf (Ohio Univ.), Stanley Payne (University of Wisconsin at Madison, where Mosse had taught), and Anson Rabinbach (Princeton Univ.), several of Mosse's former students and close colleagues were contacted to establish a prize committee. In a testament to the respect and affection that Mosse evoked among scholars, the committee was able to raise the necessary funds to institute the prize within a short space of time, aided by the administrative suport of the history department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
A more detailed announcement about the prize will appear in the January issue of Perspectives and on the AHA web site.
The Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Mo., has digitized and made available to the public several oral history interview transcripts and descriptions of archival collections of personal papers and records. Much of the new material focuses on international affairs and contains transcripts of interviews with Dean Acheson, Clark Clifford, and W. Averell Harriman among others.
The library's web site at http://www. trumanlibrary.org is being updated with support from the Arthur Gilbert Foundation and the library expects to add more oral history transcripts in 2000 as well as important records such as Truman's papers as presiding judge of the Jackson County court.
The Truman Library is one of 10 presidential libraries that are administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.
The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has received a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a four-year project to examine the system by which scholarly work is communicated to its readers. The grant will allow AAUP to analyze data about the state of scholarly publishing.
Recognizing that a clear understanding of the market for scholarly publications is imperative for sustaining the financial health of scholarly communication and essential to the fundamental mission of disseminating ideas, this research will emphasize data gathering from users of scholarly publications: individual purchasers (scholars, graduate students, and the public); teaching faculty; bookstores; and libraries.
A key element of the new study will be the gathering of data on the rate of publication in various disciplines, and the tracking of long-term changes. Other components of the study will include quantitative studies of the supply of scholarly manuscripts, the demand for scholarly publications by libraries and individuals, and the contribution of publishers to both the dissemination of scholarship and the fulfillment of the university's social purpose. The program will also seek to expand current knowledge about the economics of scholarly communications by widening data collection and reporting on AAUP member press operations.
Other studies have looked at the impact of price increases for scientific and technical journals on university library budgets—what has come to be known as "the serials crisis." The AAUP study will measure how this crisis, and other factors, are changing scholarly publishing in the humanities and social sciences.
Colin Day, director of the University of Michigan Press, is the principal investigator for this program, which will be conducted at the AAUP's office in New York.
The Association of American University Presses has 120 members, all nonprofit publishers of scholarly research including presses affiliated to universities and to other scholarly organizations. AAUP members annually publish more than 9,000 books and 700 journals.