Staff in Tibetan Studies at UVA

The University of Virginia has an unusually large number of staff involved with Tibetan Studies due especially to our innovative programs using digital technology to facilitate collaborative research and community engagement projects.

Tibet Center Staff

Ariana Maki
Ariana is Associate Director of the UVA Tibet Center and Bhutan Initiative. In addition to teaching in Art History and Religious Studies, Ariana manages cultural documentation projects in Bhutan and Tibetan areas of China as well as capacity-building programs to support Tibetan populations. Ariana is among those responsible for content creation and standardization of resources available through the Tibetan and Himalayan Library on the Mandala platform. Ariana was part of the UVA-Loden Foundation collaboration behind the Bhutan Cultural Library, supported by the Arcadia Fund. She served as Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Bhutan (2019-20), where she worked with the College of Language and Culture Studies under the Royal University of Bhutan. Ariana is a recent recipient of an NEH-Mellon Fellowship for Digital Publication for work on the Life of the Buddha project, which she co-directs with Professors Kurtis Schaeffer (UVA) and Andrew Quintman (Wesleyan).

UVA Library Staff

Jama Coartney
As director of the Digital Media Lab of Clemons Library, Jama Coartney has provided important help with image processing and general support of THL staff working on images, audio-video, and places.
Bethany Nowviskie
As the director of the Library’s Digital Research & Scholarship, Bethany has provided high-level support and advice to THL’s technical dimensions.
Nawang Thokmey
Nawang directly supports and engages with UVA Tibetan, Buddhism and Contemplative Studies faculty, students, and staff in several departments, as well as with national and international researchers. He liaises with the UVA Tibet Center, Department of Religious Studies and Contemplative Studies, and is curator of the UVA Library’s renowned Tibetan Collection. Also, on students’ requests, teaches one on one Tibetan language class, scripts and Buddhism during academic and summer sessions. Subject specialties: Tibetan, Buddhism and Contemplative Studies.
Philip McEldowney
As Librarian for Religious Studies and Anthropology, and Selector of South Asia and Middle East materials, Philip McEldowney supervises the Tibetan collection and takes the lead in its strategic development through new acquisitions.
Will Rourk
As a specialist in rich media, Flash, three-dimensional reconstructions, and architecture, Will Rourk has played a vital role in THL’s interactive maps and panoramic images, as well as leading the Meru Monastery documentation project and being a key figure in the Lhasa City project.
Judy Thomas
As first head of the Robertson Media Center and now Director of Arts & Media Library Services, Judy Thomas has been a critical support designing an approach to THL’s image collections, as well as providing high-level support in general for THL’s technical work in regards to rich media.

Tibetan and Himalayan Library (THL) Central Staff

Mark Ferrara
Mark is a web designer and programmer that has worked on various web projects at UVA since 2007 including the Tibet Center and more recently the design and development of Mandala Collections.
Ed Garrett
Ed is a linguist and programmer who has focused on building software solutions for THL’s rich, annotated and time-coded transcripts of audio-video.
Nathaniel Grove
As Technical Co-Director of the Tibetan and Himalayan Library, Nathaniel Grove has led technical work on multiple initiatives in THL including the Tibetan Literary Collections for archiving and delivering Tibetan literature and associated scholarly content, the JIATS scholarly publishing system, and the general framework for THL webpages. He brings a deep technical background in programming as well as a doctorate in Tibetan and Buddhist Studies to his work.
Andres Montano
As Technical Co-Director of the Tibetan and Himalayan Library, Andres Montano has led technical work on multiple initiatives in THL including the Media Management System archiving and delivering images and audio-video content, the Tibetan Translation Tool, the Himalayan Dictionaries, and the Knowledge Maps. He brings a deep technical background in computer science as well as doctoral training in Tibetan and Buddhist Studies to his work.
David Newman
The linchpin for the image collections and the collection of place documentation in the Tibetan and Himalayan Library since 2001, David Newman is a long-time employee, sometimes full-time and sometimes part-time, who has been crucial to many cultural projects in THL.

Part-time THL Staff

UVa Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI) Staff

Bill Ferster
Visualization Director of SHANTI, Bill has played an important role in consulting with the use of his VisualEyes framework for creating highly interactive maps.

UVa Staff Assisting THL

Robbie Bingler
Senior Programmer Analyst for the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, Robbie Bingler is the lead programmer on the THL Tibetan Dictionaries initiative, which is creating a collaborative framework for building extremely detailed studies of Tibetan words based upon historical and spoken usage.
Daniel Pitti
Associate Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, Daniel Pitti is a leading expert in XML technologies and digital humanities. He was the original architect of THL’s Tibetan literature publishing system, and has been a valuable consultant on technical and design issues in THL’s ongoing development, as well as a central adviser on conceptualizing the social infrastructure of THL.

Special Mention

Thornton Staples
Former director of the Digital Library Research and Development Department, Thorny Staples was a crucial figure in helping develop the Tibetan and Himalayan Library in a variety of ways, both technical and intellectual. He originally designed the THL Place Dictionary, but also helped formulate the overall conception of THL as part of the Library’s Information Communities Initiative and inspired much of its architecture.
Michael Tuite
Former director of the Clemons Digital Media Lab, Michael was central in the development of THL’s cultural geography initiatives, as well as the development of its image and audio-video collections. In addition to participating in multiple field trips and providing timely technical assistance again and again, he also inspired THL’s original focus on putting cultural geography at the heart of its design.