HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory)

  • Durham




United States

About Us

A consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, and engineers, of leading researchers and nonprofit research institutions, HASTAC ("Haystack") is committed to new forms of collaboration across communities and disciplines fostered by creative uses of technology. Our primary members are universities, supercomputing centers, grid and teragrid associations, humanities institutes, museums, libraries, and other civic institutions. Since 2003, we have been developing tools for multimedia archiving and social interaction, gaming environments for teaching, innovative educational programs in information science and information studies, virtual museums, and other digital projects.

In today’s society, technological advances and digital media are inextricably linked to most aspects of our lives. However, the historic barriers existing between the traditionally-defined disciplines of the humanities and the sciences still remain, regardless of the growing interdependence these domains have upon each other. With this in mind, HASTAC’s mission is two-fold: to ensure that humanistic and humane considerations are never far removed from technological advances; and to push education and learning to the forefront of digital innovation. Similarly, HASTAC is dedicated to the idea that this complex and world-changing digital environment requires all the lessons of history, introspection, theory, and equity that the modern humanities (broadly defined) have to offer. Our aim is to promote expansive models for research, teaching, and thinking.

Many of the top innovators in the fields of science and technology share the necessity to draw centrally upon human and social developments and considerations as new digital possibilities are created. HASTAC has helped foster this exchange, working in complex and important partnerships with colleagues across varying domains and disciplines. HASTAC leaders have served as consultants to U.S. and international organizations and governments on grid computing and cyberinfrastructure.

The HASTAC network consists of more than eighty institutions principally located in the US and reaches over 30,000 people worldwide. In reality, it is more a network of networks, located at the intersection of technology, engineering, and computing on one hand, and the humanities, arts and social sciences on the other. This profound interconnectivity has allowed HASTAC to develop its successful network, which in turn promotes greater interactive connections.

Joining the HASTAC network: HASTAC is a virtual network, a network of networks. To become part of HASTAC, one only needs to register on the HASTAC website. Registered users, as part of the network, have the ability to create a blog on the site, post news and opportunities to the forums, and receive HASTAC postings. (These postings shall be limited to no more than a half dozen a month; HASTAC networkers who overuse posting privileges are requested to be more careful. Commercial carriers and spammers are utterly prohibited.)


Funding for HASTAC has come from grants from the National Science Foundation, the Digital Promise Initiative, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as well as the incredible generosity and support of its member institutions. In the past, collaborative teams at each “site” (more a network than a precise physical locale) have raised funds for their specific events, which were then coordinated by a centralized HASTAC team providing administrative, technical, and communication support.

In particular, the infrastructure of HASTAC has been supported by Duke University and the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI). Through programs such as Information Science + Information Studies (ISIS) and the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies at Duke and UCHRI’s system-wide extensive research, HASTAC has been supported by universities of exemplary quality and unusual risk-taking vision. Duke and the UC system have taken early leadership roles in the study and propagation of “net sciences”: the computational, social, and humanistic understanding of the role of networked, digitally supported relationships that extend throughout education, community-based learning organizations, business, and global partnerships.