Bethany Nowviskie


nowviskieComputing humanist/humane computationalist since 1996. Director of the Digital Library Federation (DLF) at CLIR, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and Research Associate Professor of Digital Humanities in the Department of English at the University of Virginia. Former 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. Recent past roles have included that of Distinguished Presidential Fellow at CLIR, President of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, and chair of both the UVa General Faculty Council and the Modern Language Association‘s Committee on Information Technology. Recent projects: Neatline, the Praxis Program and Praxis Network, Speaking in Code#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:

In April of 2015, I became the director of the Digital Library Federation (DLF) at CLIR, the Council on Library and Information Resources. DLF is an amazing community of dedicated, resourceful, skilled, and brilliant practitioners supporting the digital missions of our ~115 member libraries, cultural heritage institutions, and related organizations. CLIR is the perfect home for DLF, as an independent nonprofit/think-tank that administers programs and helps forge strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning across higher ed and the cultural heritage sector.

At the University of Virginia, where I served as the Library’s director of Digital Research & Scholarship from 2007-2015, I was a member of our dean’s Strategic Leadership Team and advised the office of the Provost on issues relating to digital humanities. In the Library, I had direct oversight of the Scholars’ Lab and the best staff on the planet. 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 duties also included supervising a “Digital Scholarship R&D” unit within the SLab, 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 worked with Abby Smith Rumsey to guide 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, and in collaboration with Wayne Graham of the Scholars’ Lab, I am completing a print and mobile/augmented-reality digital scholarly edition of A.C. Swinburne’s 1866 Poems and Ballads. 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 eight and eleven.

Creative Commons License This site uses a heavily modified version of Bryan Helmig's Magatheme. Work at by Bethany Nowviskie is always CC-BY. Want to know why? The falling letters are by Wayne Graham. He kindly made them to replace a set I designed in Flash in the late 1990s and had in place for more than 17 years. Not a bad run! Ave atque vale.