Professional News

Doug Boyd Wins Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 12, 2016) Doug Boyd, director of the University of Kentucky Libraries Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, has won the 2016 Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History for his project “Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia.” The American Historical Association (AHA) awards the Rosenzweig Prize each year to an innovative and freely available new media project.

Boyd shares the award with partners Charles Hardy III and Janneken Smucker, of the Department of History at West Chester University. The prize will be awarded during a ceremony at the AHA’s 131st Annual Meeting in Denver the first of January.

“It is most fitting that Dr. Boyd joins his oral history colleagues in receiving this coveted award from AHA,” said Terry Birdwhistell, dean of UK Libraries and William T. Young Endowed Chair. “Dr. Boyd is recognized internationally for his innovative approaches to providing students, scholars and citizens digital access to oral histories.”

West Chester University student talks about participating in the "Goin' North" project and working with UK's OHMS technology.

“Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia” — a collaborative initiative linking archives and the college classroom — draws on a range of digital platforms for students to curate, interpret and share oral history interviews recorded before the advent of digital technologies and the World Wide Web.

The project was built around Nunn Center interviews conducted during the 1980s with African Americans who migrated from the American South to Philadelphia during the era of the first Great Migration and black Philadelphians who witnessed their arrival and impact.

“We believe 'Goin’ North' is a model for engaging students with oral history, utilizing innovative digital platforms, connecting the archive and the classroom with effective pedagogy, multi-institutional collaboration and the production of a final product that is powerful, professional and useful,” said Doug Boyd.

The project engaged 45 students with Nunn Center staff and collections, and features student created Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) Level 3 indexes, each including an audio file synchronized with an exact verbatim transcript, curated segment synopses, keywords drawn from a controlled vocabulary of over 1,600 terms generated by students, images that illustrate the interview content, and GPS coordinates that situate the topics in geographic space. Students also created digital storytelling projects. See

According to the Rosenzweig Prize Committee, “the 'Goin’ North' website, which demonstrates how oral history can be married with digital history, effectively integrates a variety of off-the-shelf digital tools — iMovie, historypin, thinglink and ESRI Story Maps — for the purpose of telling a story.”

“In integrating the work of successive cohorts of students, 'Goin’ North' offers a compelling model of how iterative project development can be made part of teaching.”

The prize was developed by friends and colleagues of Roy Rosenzweig (1950–2007), the Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of History and New Media at George Mason University, to honor his life and work as a pioneer in the field of digital history.

The American Historical Association is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1884 and incorporated by Congress in 1889 for the promotion of historical studies. The AHA provides leadership for the discipline, protects academic freedom, develops professional standards, aids in the pursuit and publication of scholarship, and supplies various services to sustain and enhance the work of its members. As the largest organization of historians in the United States, the AHA is comprised of approximately 13,000 members and serves historians representing every historical period and geographical area. For more information, go to

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