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John Unsworth

John Unsworth

University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, University of Virginia
John M. Unsworth became Dean of Libraries, University Librarian, and Professor of English at the University of Virginia in June 2016. He is a 1988 PhD from the UVA English Department, and returned to serve as a member of that faculty from 1993 to 2003, during which time he was tenured as an Associate Professor of English (1998) and served as the Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), located in the Library and reporting to a Vice-Provost for Research. Before returning to UVA in 2016, Mr. Unsworth served for four years as Vice-Provost for Library and Technology Services & Chief Information Officer at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. From 2003-2012, Mr. Unsworth served as Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he also held appointments in the Department of English, on the Library faculty, and as Director of the Illinois Informatics Institute. In August of 2013, for his work in Digital Humanities he was appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Humanities Council, from which he resigned in 2019. For his work at UVA’s IATH, he received the 2005 Richard W. Lyman Award from the National Humanities Center. He chaired the national commission that produced Our Cultural Commonwealth, the 2006 report on Cyberinfrastructure for Humanities and Social Science, on behalf of the American Council of Learned Societies. Mr. Unsworth has supervised research projects across the disciplines in the humanities, has published widely on the topic of digital humanities, and has directed many grant-funded projects in digital humanities, library digital infrastructure, accessibility, and related topics, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Getty Grant Program, and others. After receiving his PhD in English from UVA and doing a stint as a Lecturer in the English Department, Professor Unsworth’s first faculty appointment was in English at North Carolina State University (NCSU) from 1989 to 1993. In 1990, while at NCSU, he co-founded the first peer-reviewed electronic journal in the humanities, Postmodern Culture. Later, while at UVA, he organized, incorporated, and chaired the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium, co-chaired the Modern Language Association's Committee on Scholarly Editions, served as president of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, and served as chair of the steering committee for the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations. Before completing his PhD at UVA, Mr. Unsworth received a B.A. in English from Amherst College in 1981, and an M.A. in English from Boston University in 1982.


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