Blogging for Ada Lovelace Day: Bethany Nowviskie

For the 2009 version of Ada Lovelace Day, I blogged about Martha Nell Smith. At the beginning of that post I talked about techie women in my previous professional life—or lack thereof—and how it was the switch to academia that brought to light some truly inspiring women oriented in some way toward technology (in that case, the Founding Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)).

Bethany's self-meriting merit badge
I’m keeping it in the academic family for this one. Have you met Bethany Nowviskie? She’s a force of nature, that one. Super awesome geeky nature.

She has a technology named after her—ok fine, so I renamed it, but still…it’s warranted.

She has the proper toys in her office.

She will teach you how to hack your clothes.

And it turns out she’s shaped my scholarly-technical foundation and my future. Good job, @nowviskie!

I’m going to quote from her Great Lakes THATCamp author page:

I’m a textual scholar (and once and future Victorianist) who got into humanities computing in the earliest days of the Web, stuck with it through a rare digital humanities post-doc (with NINES), and then bumbled into higher ed administration. Now I run the Digital Research & Scholarship department at UVA Library. I’m also Associate Director of the Scholarly Communication Institute, a Mellon-sponsored incubator for large-scale projects in publishing, libraries, digital humanities research.
My department at UVA includes the Scholars’ Lab and a “Digital Scholarship R&D” team, filled with avid THATCampers.

Allow me to translate.

I fundamentally understand what humanities computing is, and what it is not. If you are even remotely interested in the intersections and shared histories of the humanities and computing, I will tell you what I know. I will help you find your way, both as a kind and decent human being but also as the Vice-President of the Association for Computers and the Humanities. I will survey the field and find ways to combine resources and forces and create new spaces and places for digital research and scholarship. And speaking of places? Let’s all get together and talk about that at the Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship. Oh, and I could tell you a little something about NINES, and speculative computing, and generally how to make cool digital things with similarly cool analog things.

While I was in Virginia the other day—at Bethany’s invitation, part of her whole generosity schtick—there was some discussion about sustainability of data and what not (with @ryancordell and @digitalhumanist) and we decided that it would be incredibly important for the world if we found a way to permanently sustain the data Bethany has stored in her head. Because you see, she’s forgotten more about humanities computing than many of those who align themselves with digital humanities today even know about. We need to preserve her, for sure, but today I’m just going to celebrate her.

Yay Bethany! Thanks for everything!

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