New inter-active CD had extensive history of Silver State | NevadaAppeal.com

New inter-active CD had extensive history of Silver State

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

Some of the employees at the Department of Cultural Affairs may have the image of stuffy intellectuals — professor types with their noses buried in old manuscripts.

Their newly released compact disk, “Nevada Riches,” ought to change that image a bit.

The CD-ROM is billed as a history of the land and people of the Silver State. But on the computer screen, it comes up more like a magical mystery tour — an interactive, multi-media presentation complete with sound effects as sophisticated as any video game.

“This is the next generation in history education and we are there now,” said State Librarian Sara Jones.

What that means is a multi-faceted screen that lets the user follow their own path through Nevada’s history from the time before 1800 to Gov. Kenny Guinn’s last State of the State speech. Far from just a collection of documents, the program is loaded with more than 1,200 photographs — both historic and modern, dozens of audio clips and even film footage of different events such as atomic testing at Yucca Flat.

Every section has extras for the history buff — including a number of State Archivist Guy Rocha’s columns debunking old Nevada historical myths and a “Did You Know” section taking historic tidbits from Nevada Magazine Publisher Rich Moreno’s books on Nevada trivia.

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But that doesn’t mean the history isn’t there. There are more than 800 pages of information on the CD.

“We wanted to make this entertaining as well as informative,” said Archives manager Jeff Kintop, who coordinated the effort to put all the information on the disk. “I think anyone interested in history will enjoy this.”

He got the project from editor Anita Watson, who started it and researched much of the text.

Kintop said the CD was researched carefully and edited to make sure it can be used as an educational tool. He said the process took more than four years.

Unlike a textbook, he said users can simply click on the kinds of information they’re most interested in — from the landscape to people, technology to government — then pull up the historic period — from pre-1800 to the present. This brings up a selection of links on screen allowing the user to pull up photos and detailed articles as well as audio and film clips.

And unlike particularly older texts, the CD doesn’t just look at the state’s history from one point of view.

“We tried to make it multi-cultural,” Kintop said.

There are not only articles and images of Native Americans and Basque contributions to Nevada, but clips in their languages: Shoshone, Paiute, Washoe and Basque.

He said the project began with a $150,000 grant through the Library Services and Technology Act. That was supplemented by a $75,000 appropriation from the 1999 Legislature and $10,000 from Nevada Bell.

Dozens of people within the Department of Cultural Affairs as well as volunteers including a number of Nevada officials and legislators contributed to the project — including narrating different sections of the text.

Kintop said copies of the CD will be sent to every school in the state. For teachers, it comes with a teacher’s manual developed by James Neeley, a consultant with Creative Curriculum Consultants of Arizona.

For history buffs, Kintop said the cost at state museum stores is just $19.95.

“If you’re a history buff, it’s a great stocking stuffer,” he said.

What: ‘Nevada Riches’ history CD-ROM

Where: State museum stores

Cost: $19.95

More info: 684-3360