The Wired U: University of Virginia
[A sidebar to Greg Easley's C-Ville Weekly "Monticello Area Virtual Village" article, April 4-10, 1995.
The University of Virginia has made great strides in applying computer technology to the study of the humanities, the school's academic gem. Here are descriptions of what's happening at the new Wired U:
- The Electronic Text Center. Nestled
in Alderman Library, the "Etext Center" fosters some of the nation's
most advanced work in bringing books online. Center Director David Seaman tours the country in an
effort to enlighten other universities. The Center has put more than
10,000 texts online, including the following: a searchable edition of
the 20-- volume Oxford English Dictionary; a database containing
full-text versions of virtually all British poetry up to 1900; and a
multimedia version of Poet Laureate Rita Dove's "Lady Freedom
Among Us," the University Library's four-millionth volume.The
Center's latest project: putting new scholarly
articles on the Internet -- even before they've been published in a
The University's Grounds-Wide Information
Servers (pronounced "gee whiz") offer a broad range of online
information, and much of it is actually useful. From the dorms a
student can browse the UPI Wire's full-text articles (useful for checking
the AP Basketball poll on Sunday night); verify that a book has been
checked out in order to rationalize not going to the library, read a
weather report that's much more detailed than anything on Channel 29;
and then check the dates for spring break.
- The Institute for Advanced Technology of the Humanities. UVA's version of the Manhattan Project -- only it's for liberal arts professors and not physicists. Founded two years ago, the Institute sets aside funding and resources for its fellows to create humanities projects made possible by new information technology. Luminary history professor Ed Ayers, for example, is completing a multimedia project destined to be one of the most exciting nodes on the Internet. Combining historical narrative and electronic archive materials, the project interleaves the local histories of Staunton, Virginia, and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War era. Internet explorers will be able to read either town's newspapers on a given day during a three-year period or search census records and army rosters for information on relatives.