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University of Virginia
scholar named dean of library school
Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor
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Unsworth will begin his new duties as dean of the Graduate
School of Library and Information Sciences on Aug. 16.
Ill. — John M. Unsworth has been named the new dean of the Graduate
School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign. His appointment was approved today by the Board
of Trustees at its meeting in Rockford, Ill.
Currently an associate professor of English and the director of the
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University
of Virginia, Charlottesville, Unsworth will begin his new duties Aug.
16. He also will hold the appointment of professor in the library school
and professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Unsworth succeeds Linda C. Smith, who has served as interim dean since
August 2001, when Leigh Estabrook, the dean for 15 years, returned to
the faculty of the school.
Richard Herman, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs
at Illinois, said that he is "delighted that John Unsworth has
accepted our offer to join the university."
"He is widely admired for his intellect, his understanding of the
role of technology to support teaching, research and public engagement,
and his ability to form collaborative groups across disciplines,"
Herman said. "He is just the right person to lead this prestigious
school in new directions that will ensure its continued status as the
nation’s premier School of Library and Information Science."
Unsworth specializes both in 20th century American literature and in
computing in the humanities. He is particularly interested in the history,
function and culture of publishing.
Unsworth is a co-founder and editor emeritus and member of the editorial
board of Postmodern Culture, the Internet’s oldest peer-reviewed
journal in the humanities, which now is published by Johns Hopkins University
He has said that he saw the journal "as a way of creating a community
of scholars in the area of postmodernism."
Unsworth was the founding director of Virginia’s Institute for
Advanced Technology in the Humanities, which was in its infancy when
he arrived at that university.
He has published widely in the twin areas of his research interests,
both in traditional print formats and in electronic. His "A Companion
to Digital Humanities,"
co-edited with Susan Schreibman and Ray Siemens, is to be published
this year by Blackwell’s. With Eyal Amiran, Unsworth published
"Essays in Postmodern Culture" (Oxford University Press, 1993).
Unsworth also is co-editor of the forthcoming "Electronic Textual
Editing," a publication of the Modern Language Association and
the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium. Co-editors of that publication
are Lou Burnard and Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe.
At Virginia, Unsworth has taught many levels of 20th century American
literature, postmodern fiction and theory, and contemporary literature
Among the technology courses he has taught at Virginia are "Is
Humanities Computing an Academic Discipline?"; "Technologies
of Publishing"; "Hypertext Theory"; "Discourse Networks";
and "The Information Superhighway."
Unsworth currently is the president of the Association for Computers
and the Humanities and the chairman of the board of the Text Encoding
He is a member of the (William) Blake Archive Advisory Board, the (Emily)
Dickinson Editorial Collective Advisory Aboard and the Romantic Circles
Before joining the faculty at Virginia in 1993, Unsworth taught in the
English department at North Carolina State University for four years.
He earned his doctoral degree in English at Virginia in 1988, his master’s
in English at Boston University in 1982 and his bachelor’s, also
in English and magna cum laude, in 1981, from Amherst College.
Unsworth, a native of Northampton, Mass., said that he is "excited
to come to Illinois and to join the library school."