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.
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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 visionary 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.
Through the years IATH fellows and projects have earned recognition and several awards.
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.