First YouTube, then blogging, and now Twitter; it appears that the U.S. government has fully embraced Web 2.0.
By now, most people have heard of Twitter, the “micro-blogging” service that allows users to post 140 (or less) character messages on their profile pages, or send these messages to other users who subscribe to their “tweets.” And now the U.S. Government is getting into the act.
While Twitter is a popular site for the text-happy younger generation who want to stay in touch with friends, it’s also being embraced by organizations and established institutions as a way to communicate news, events, exhibits, and more.
On June 3, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Jim Leach, former Republican congressman from Iowa, as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. President Obama has been quoted as saying, "I am confident that with Jim as its head, the National Endowment for the Humanities will continue on its vital mission of supporting the humanities and giving the American public access to the rich resources of our culture. Jim is a valued and dedicated public servant and I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead."
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YouTube continues its transformation from blooper archive to legit online video resource with the new U.S. Government YouTube channel. Like YouTube EDU, which we blogged about just a month ago, this new channel is meant to aggregate more serious videos (in this case of the government persuasion), making them easier to find within the abundance and variety of videos available on YouTube.
Currently, the U.S. Government channel’s strength is not in the number of videos it offers (as of Thursday, May 21st, it has just one: “New Media Across Government”), but is rather the videos it links to in its favorites and playlists sections, and “other channels” list.
The Office of the Historian, within the U.S. Department of State, has launched a new, sleeker, and more interactive web site. Their old site explains that, “You have asked for more resources at your fingertips for all things related to U.S. diplomatic history, and we have responded.”
The home page of the new site calls the most attention to the Foreign Relations of the U.S. (FRUS) series, which the Office of the Historian is legally responsible for preparing and publishing.
This week we start off with the revelation that the CIA has destroyed 92 interrogation tapes, verifying a fear the AHA expressed in 2008. Then, Tony Grafton takes a look at graduate school past and future, a history professor is interviewed in the Freakonomics blog, the LOC unravels the origins of the automobile, and a new audio tour explores historic D.C. Finally, we link to a number of articles for a section we’ve titled “History in Hard Times.”
In part two of this interview, Matt Wasniewski, historian in the U.S. House of Representatives, discusses his thoughts on the public’s view of history, advice for history students, and more.
In part one he explained how he got into the history field and his current job, what his regular duties include, and more about his background.
What kind of misperceptions do you think people have towards those with a history degree? You know, Why study history?
Again, as an undergraduate, I had roommates who were history majors.
An inquiry into the Office of the Historian at the U.S. State Department (HO) concludes that “the current working atmosphere in the HO and between the HO and the HAC [Historical Advisory Committee] poses real threats to the high scholarly quality of the FRUS [Foreign Relations of the United States] series and the benefits it brings.” Secrecy News posted the report, by a committee consisting of Warren F. Kimball (chair), Ruth Whiteside, and Ron Spector, up yesterday.
The report is circumspect about the specific issues noting that “emotions ran high” and the committee was not in a position to sort through a considerable amount of contradictory testimony.
The Dirksen Congressional Center invites applications for Congressional Research Awards to fund research on congressional leadership and the U.S. Congress. A total of up to $30,000 will be available in 2009. Awards range from a few hundred dollars to $3,500. The competition is open to individuals with a serious interest in studying Congress. Political scientists, historians, biographers, scholars of public administration or American studies, and journalists are among those eligible. The Center encourages graduate students who have successfully defended their dissertation prospectus to apply and awards a significant portion of the funds for dissertation research. Applications are due on or before February 1, 2009.