Presentation of the
2006 Paul Evan Peters Award to
Following the award presentation, Professor Ginsparg will deliver the
Paul Evan Peters Lecture:
The Library of Babel
Some reflections about what has happened over the past thirty years,
and what might happen during the next five.
About Paul Ginsparg:
A professor of physics, computing and information science at Cornell University, Paul Ginsparg has distinguished himself as the visionary behind arXiv, the Internet e-print archive for articles in the sciences, which allows scholars to circulate and comment on research prior to publication in traditional peer-reviewed journals, thereby significantly reducing the amount of time it takes for an article to be available to researchers. Started in 1991 as a service for preprints in physics, arXiv eventually expanded to include mathematics, computer science and quantitative biology. Today, the resource boasts free, open access to over 350,000 articles.
Ginsparg’s creativity and innovation allowed him to take a fresh view of conventional models of research exchange and collaboration, which, eventually, led to a groundbreaking and affordable approach to scholarly communication. Expressing this view directly as part of the 2001 UNESCO Expert Conference Electronic Publishing in Science, Ginsparg wrote, “The essential question for ‘Electronic Publishing in Science’ is how our scientific research communications infrastructure should be reconfigured to take maximal advantage of newly evolving electronic resources.”
The revolutionary implementation of Ginparg’s archive is affecting global change — helping to spread new ideas, breaking down institutional and international barriers, and encouraging cross-national collaboration. Scholars from around the world, including experts at the most illustrious institutions as well as talented individuals working in remote corners, “meet” in this virtual workspace, to exchange ideas and push their work forward. These partnerships had been largely inconceivable under older, more traditional publishing networks. The e-prints archive also has a leveling affect: arXiv offers access to anyone at no cost and, therefore, researchers can obtain current materials even when their organization or institution cannot afford access to journals producing the key literature in their field. arXiv has forever changed the way researchers communicate and collaborate with one another.
Paul Ginsparg received a B.A. in Physics from Harvard University in 1977, and a doctorate in theoretical particle physics from Cornell University in 1981. He became a research staff member in the theoretical division of Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1990, where he founded the e-print archive now known as arXiv. In 2001, he returned to Cornell University as a Professor of Physics and Computing and Information Science. He has authored numerous papers in quantum field theory, string theory, conformal field theory, and quantum gravity, and served as editor of many conference proceedings. His committee service has included the U.S. National Committee for CODATA sponsored by the U.S. National Research Council and International Council of Scientific Unions (studying issues in the transborder flow of scientific data), the National Institutes of Health PubMed Central national advisory board, and the American Physical Society publications oversight committee. He currently serves on the Public Library of Science advisory board. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, in 2002 Ginsparg was named a fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Upon announcing the award, the foundation stated that, “Ginsparg has deliberately transformed the way physics gets done — challenging conventional standards for review and communication of research and thereby changing the speed and mode of dissemination of scientific advances.”
Can We Create a Democratic Digital History?
Professor of History & New Media,
and Head of the Center on
History and New Media
George Mason University
For historians, one of the great promises of digital technology is its potential to democratize history—to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences, and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past. Drawing in part on his own work at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, Rosenzweig will survey efforts to fulfill that democratic vision and the barriers to achieving it.
About Roy Rosenzweig:
As founder and director of the Center on History & New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University, Roy Rosenzweig is involved in a number of different digital history projects including the website, History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web, which won the American Historical Association’s Robinson Prize, as well as projects on the French Revolution, the history of science and technology, world history, historical thinking, digital tools, the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the 2005 hurricane season. All of these are available through the CHNM web site (http://chnm.gmu.edu). He is also the co-author with Dan Cohen of Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Presenting, and Preserving, and the Past on the Web. His work in digital history was recognized in 2003 with the Richard W. Lyman Award (awarded by the National Humanities Center and the Rockefeller Foundation) for “outstanding achievement in the use of information technology to advance scholarship and teaching in the humanities.”
Rosenzweig is also Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of History & New Media at George Mason University. He is the co-author, with Elizabeth Blackmar, of The Park and the People: A History of Central Park, which won several awards including the 1993 Historic Preservation Book Award and the 1993 Urban History Association Prize for Best Book on North American Urban History. He also co-authored (with David Thelen) The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life, which has won prizes from the Center for Historic Preservation and the American Association for State and Local History. He was co-author of the CD-ROM, Who Built America?, which won James Harvey Robinson Prize of American Historical Association for its “outstanding contribution to the teaching and learning of history.” His other books include Eight Hours for What We Will: Workers and Leisure in an Industrial City, 1870-1920 (Cambridge University Press) and edited volumes on history museums (History Museums in the United States: A Critical Assessment), history and the public (Presenting the Past: Essays on History and the Public), history teaching (Experiments in History Teaching), oral history (Government and the Arts in 1930s America), and recent history (A Companion to Post-1945 America). He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has lectured in Australia as a Fulbright Professor. Between 2003 and 2006, he was Vice-President for Research of the American Historical Association.