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HUNTINGTON - The Cabell County Public Library will host a special presentation on the development of Clio, a website and mobile application aimed at helping people connect to local history, at noon Wednesday, Feb. 24 at the main library.

Clio was developed at Marshall University and has been featured in diverse publications and popular news outlets from PC Magazine to MTV News. Since its launch, Clio has grown to nearly 10,000 entries.

In honor of Black History Month, David Trowbridge, associate professor of history at Marshall and the creator of Clio, will discuss how scholars and librarians at Marshall University have used Clio to preserve and share the history of African Americans throughout West Virginia and beyond. Refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by the Cabell County Public Library and Marshall University.

In 2015, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation named Marshall University as one of 14 institutions in the nation to receive a $35,000 award in support of library projects that connect the public to information. Marshall University's team of librarians and faculty members conducted research throughout the year and used the Clio mobile application to connect the public to hundreds of sites related to African American history throughout Appalachia.

"In 1915, Huntington's Carter G. Woodson launched a movement to preserve and incorporate the contributions of African Americans into the larger narrative of American history," Trowbridge said in a news release. "Woodson became known as 'The Father of Black History' because he reached both scholars and the general public in the 20th century through journals and other print media."

Towbridge said it seems fitting that 100 years after Woodson's efforts began, a diverse team of scholars from Marshall is working with new technologies to bring history to the public in the 21st century.

Marshall's $35,000 grant supported the team's plan to chronicle and share information about historical sites related to African American history in central Appalachia and add these to Clio's growing database of historical sites. The team created entries related to slavery and the Underground Railroad, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the struggle for civil rights in communities throughout the region.

"Together these entries allow the public to 'go back in time' and experience events and perspectives that are rarely included in the larger narrative of American history," Trowbridge said. "For example, Clio can guide users to Woodson's statue in Huntington and where users can listen to his biographer explain how this Appalachian coal miner became 'The Father of Black History.' "

Named after the ancient muse of history, Clio is a free website and mobile application that picks up a user's location anywhere in the United States and tells him or her about the history and culture that surrounds them, with a growing database including museums, art galleries, monuments, sculptures, and historical sites. In addition, more than 100 institutions and universities are using Clio to map the history of their own communities.

Clio's goal is to connect everyone in the United States to the history and culture that surrounds them, Trowbridge said. Each entry can provide a basic summary, detailed backstory, images and audio/video clips, as well as suggested books and articles for those who want to know more. Entries for museums and archives provide addresses, hours, phone numbers, and official websites, along with turn-by-turn directions.

The team hopes the public will not only download and use the mobile application to discover the history around them, but that they will also "engage with our team of scholars by suggesting additional historical sites related to African American history and other topics," Trowbridge said.

Go online at www.cabell.lib.wv.us for more info on the library. Visit http://www.theclio.com for more information about Clio.

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