Bethany Nowviskie


nowviskieComputing humanist/humane computationalist since 1996. Director of the Scholars’ Lab and Department of Digital Research & Scholarship at the University of Virginia Library and Special Advisor to the Provost, for the advancement of digital humanities research at UVa. Distinguished Presidential Fellow at CLIR, the Council on Library and Information Resources. Immediate past president of the Association for Computers and the Humanities and outgoing chair of both the UVa General Faculty Council and the Modern Language Association‘s Committee on Information Technology. Recent projects include Neatline, the Praxis Program and Praxis Network, #Alt-Academy, and the Scholarly Communication Institute. Named one of “Ten Tech Innovators” for 2013 by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which pretty much summed it up: “Bethany Nowviskie likes to build things.” Mother of two; tinkerer; not that kind of doctor.


That was the short version. Here’s a longer one:

At the University of Virginia, where I serve as the Library’s director of Digital Research & Scholarship, I am a member of our dean’s Strategic Leadership Team and advise the office of the Provost on issues relating to digital humanities. In the Library, I have direct oversight of the Scholars’ Lab. The SLab focuses on digital humanities, spatial and statistical analysis across the disciplines, and experimental and ludic scholarly methods at the intersection of our digital and material worlds, featuring vibrant intellectual programming, and dedicated fellowships and Praxis Program internship opportunities for graduate students. My department also includes a “Digital Scholarship R&D” unit, providing consultation, software development, and infrastructure support for the digital humanities.

My scholarly research interests lie in the intersection of algorithmic or procedural method and traditional humanities interpretation. Among recent grant-funded projects (supported by the NEH, IMLS, and Library of Congress) are the Speaking in Code summit, the Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship, and Neatline: Facilitating Geospatial and Temporal Interpretation of Archival Collections.

Major service activities have included: leading the ACH as its president; serving on the steering or executive committees of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), centerNet (the international organization of digital humanities centers), MediaCommons, and the University of Virginia Faculty Senate; and chairing both the MLA‘s Committee on Information Technology and UVa’s General Faculty Council.

My doctorate is in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia, where I have taught courses in writing, poetry, bibliography, and new media aesthetics and design, and served on dissertation committees in the departments of English, Anthropology, and Music. Among my more notable digital projects, through IATH and UVA’s SpecLab, are the Rossetti Archive, in collaboration with Jerome McGann, and Temporal Modelling, in collaboration with Johanna Drucker. From 2004-2007, as a postdoctoral fellow and later a member of UVA’s research faculty, I developed software and social systems for NINES, the “networked infrastructure for nineteenth-century electronic scholarship.” These included Collex, Juxta, and the Ivanhoe Game. I served as Senior Advisor and an executive council member of NINES from 2007-2012. Collex was the inspiration for Project Blacklight (later developed in the Scholars’ Lab), a key component of Hydra.

The Scholarly Communication Institute was a Mellon-funded initiative which, for a full decade, brought together leaders in higher education, cultural heritage institutions, and academic publishing to explore new possibilities for scholarly communication in the digital age. As Associate Director, I guided initiatives related to graduate education reform and the expansion of “alternative academic careers” (about which I edited an open-access publication, “#Alt-Academy“), and founded the Praxis Network.

In my spare time, I am completing a print and digital scholarly edition of A.C. Swinburne’s 1866 Poems and Ballads, and beginning a project related to the role of “alt-ac” scholar-practitioners in university governance at a moment of generational and structural shift. The best keynote talk I never gave is here: “Digital Humanities in the Anthropocene.” Other publications and invited presentations can be found in my CV.

My finest works-in-progress are two next-gen models / disruptive technologies — a girl and a boy, ages seven and eleven.

5 Responses to “Bio”

  1. Information futures event: Dr Bethany Nowviskie, University of Virginia
    on Nov 17th, 2010
    @ 2:49am

    […] Bethany Nowviskie Director of Digital Research & Scholarship at the University of Virginia Library and Associate […]

  2. Eric Vettel
    on May 3rd, 2011
    @ 11:43am

    We need to clone Bethany — she is talented, and she is generous with her time and advice.

  3. eResearch Forum 2010 Digital Humanities & Social Sciences « Staff Intranet
    on Sep 18th, 2013
    @ 12:54am

    […] Address by Dr Bethany Nowviskie Director of Digital Research & Scholarship at the University of Virginia Library and Associate Director of the Scholarly Communication Institute: […]

  4. What About the Alternative-Alternative-Academic Path? | NginguThembi
    on Mar 19th, 2014
    @ 9:28am

    […] I discussed some of our readings this week which provided definitions for alternative academix.  Bethany Nowviskie‘s definition, spelled out in “#alt-ac: alternative academic careers for humanities […]

  5. Alternative Academix-ing | NginguThembi
    on Mar 19th, 2014
    @ 9:32am

    […] “#alt-ac: alternative academic careers for humanities scholars,” Bethany Nowviskie defined “alt-ac” as “alternative academic careers—particularly for positions within or […]

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