Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities

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The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) is a research unit of the University of Virginia, USA. Its goal is to explore and develop information technology as a tool for scholarly humanities research. To that end, IATH provide Fellows with consulting, technical support, applications development, and networked publishing facilities. It also cultivates partnerships and participate in humanities computing initiatives with libraries, publishers, information technology companies, scholarly organizations, and other groups residing at the intersection of computers and cultural heritage.

The research projects, essays, and documentation presented below are the products of a unique collaboration between humanities and computer science research faculty, computer professionals, student assistants and project managers, and library faculty and staff. In many cases, this work is supported by private or federal funding agencies. In all cases, it is supported by the Fellows’ home departments; the College or School to which those departments belong; the University of Virginia Library; the Vice President for Research and Public Service; the Vice President and Chief Information Officer; the Provost; and the President of the University of Virginia.


Persistence through time and across media is the most critical attribute of humanities research, concerned as it is with the record of the past, but achieving that persistence in an era of rapidly developing technology is a very difficult task. IATH’s central mission is to provide scholars in the humanities with the time, the tools, and the techniques to document and interpret the human record in electronic form. To that end, we select a small number of fellows each year through a competitive application process, and we provide those fellows with consulting, technical support, applications programming, and networked publishing facilities. The Institute sponsors dozens of different humanities research projects, in disciplines as diverse as anthropological linguistics, architectural history, history of science, British literature, and film, to name just a few. Professional staff and student researchers assist IATH’s fellows.


In 1819, Thomas Jefferson founded a new kind of university in the Commonwealth of Virginia--a completely integrated educational environment, one that encouraged intellectual exchange across disciplinary boundaries, that combined living and learning, that brought people together in new configurations, and that involved everyone in a cooperative pursuit of knowledge. He called this environment his "Academical Village."

The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities was established at the University of Virginia in 1992, with a major grant from IBM and a multi-year commitment of support from the University, as part of an effort to bring Jefferson's educational ideals into the twenty-first century.

The University's strong information technology and library facilities, along with its historical dedication to the ideal of democratizing access to information, have made it a national and international leader in the application of information technology to the arts, humanities and social sciences.

IATH’s founders are respected leaders in humanities computing, digital scholarship, and academic administration. Beginning in 1992 a Steering Committee of scholars, including Edward Ayers, Alan Batson, Jerome McGann, Kendon Stubbs and William Wulf managed IATH. A search committee commissioned by the Steering Committee carried out the search for a Director of the Institute. John Unsworth was selected, and his term began September 1, 1993.

IATH has generated over $9 million in grant funding and gifts in kind since it began operations. Much of this funding has come from Federal agencies and private foundations, and has gone to support faculty research and teaching across the University.

Projects at IATH include or have included:

See also

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