IATH symposium eyes past and future
By Charlotte Crystal
many challenges. So little time. Scholars, librarians, publishers
and computer wizards gathered in Newcomb Hall on Sept. 25-26 to
celebrate a decade of achievement by the University of Virginias
Institute for Advanced
Technology in the Humanities.
is a remarkable pioneering effort, said Donald Waters, program
director with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and one of the
panelists at the anniversary symposium, A Decade of Digital
also embodies the characteristics needed for success, according
to Waters, in particular, its development by scholars dealing
with significant intellectual problems, working in collaboration
with other scholars, and creating products of significant intellectual
Marcum, associate librarian of Congress, noted the contributions
of John Unsworth, founding director of IATH, and Karin Wittenborg,
University librarian, to the programs success.
saw the possibilities for IATH long before others saw them,
Marcum said. They pushed the boundaries of new work, creating
new problems and forging collaboration between individuals and
institutions in the United States and abroad.
in 1992 with a grant from IBM and support from the University,
IATH is recognized as an international leader in new applications
of information technology in the humanities and social sciences.
The program provides scholars with the tools and techniques needed
to produce electronic contributions in the humanities and social
sciences. Projects range from architectural history to literature
his keynote address, Jerome McGann, John Stuart Bryan University
Professor, noted that IATH served as a catalyst for electronic
change at U.Va., sparking such initiatives as the electronic imprint
at the University of Virginia Press.
And it has served to point out the many challenges that lie ahead.
are moving into a new era when the real problems are philosophical,
said Stanley Katz, director of the Center for Arts and Cultural
Policy Studies at Princeton University and president emeritus
of the American Council of Learned Societies.
challenges include developing a new understanding of publications.
In the electronic age, what is a publication? Katz
asked. And when online publications can be added to
by multiple authors and altered over the years, he continued,
When are they finished?
are academic and legal questions that need to be answered, such
as those relating to peer review of electronic publications and
ownership of intellectual property, said Mick Gusinde-Duffy, manager
of the Electronic Imprint for the University of Virginia Press.
there are technical problems that need to be solved, including
creating user-friendly ways to access huge databases, said Michael
Jensen, director of publishing technologies for the National Academy
the gathering of IATH staff and supporters, Marcum said: Its
less important that you have solved the problems than that you
have recognized the issues.