ATLAS.ti Company / History
ATLAS.ti is truly the original qualitative data analysis software. The “ATLAS” Project at the Technical University of Berlin became the “birthplace” of the software in 1989. “ATLAS.ti” stands for “Archiv für Technik, Lebenswelt und Alltagssprache” [Archive for Technology, the Life World and Everyday Language]. The extension “ti” stands for “text interpretation.”
In 1993, Thomas Muhr released the first commercial version under the company name “Scientific Software Development,” now ATLAS.ti GmbH. By then, the program had already found its way into the hands of numerous top-notch psychologists and sociologist who immediately recognized its enormous usefulness for their work. Major figures like sociology “Übervater” Anselm Strauss the product. In fact, Strauss himself became a main supporter of the software (Strauss wrote the foreword to the manual of the first commercial edition of ATLAS.ti).
In the years since then the company has stayed true to its principles of innovation and uncompromising dedication to quality. ATLAS.ti’s developers work in close interaction with practitioners, researchers, and consultants worldwide. In close interaction between academia and the developing team, the program grew rapidly in every respect.
Technologically, it has always set the standard for everything that was to come later. Below are listed just a few areas in which ATLAS.ti was first:
- First QDA software to run under Windows
- Paper & pencil paradigm: invented the margin area
- Integration of formatted word processing files (RTF, MS Word)
- Full use of images
- Revolutionary integration of audio and video
- Geodata and Google Earth
- On-board transcription
- Full native integration of Adobe PDF
A word about the technology the drives the software: ATLAS.ti is and has always been German engineering at its best–a combination of creativity and solid know-how that results in innovation and excellent craftsmanship that is second to none. Inspired by company founder Thomas Muhr (who is both a trained psychologist and a computer engineer), most of the team members have impressive backgrounds both in the technical and in the scholarly/research sector. In the same spirit, the software is based on an evolutionary-participatory development process and utilizes the latest and most advanced technology available. The ATLAS.ti development policy is guided by a set of values that centrally feature *interoperability* and the use of *non-propriatary (“open” ) standards* (such as XML).
Ultimately, this is particularly good news for the users: ATLAS.ti is much less susceptiple to common security threats, and remains more flexible and expandable in its capabilities than other products. Things like unlimited video size and native PDF support wouldn’t be possible otherwise. And no other QDA software offers more capabilities for data exchange than ATLAS.ti.
But not only that: The technological advantage of ATLAS.ti enables the much much smaller and more economical footprint that also distinguishes the program form others: ATLAS.ti is a small one-shot download and one-click installation. Unlike other products, it does NOT require the installation of any extra components (that are difficult to install and operate, use up a computer’s resources, and might compromise a system’s integrity). And it still offers many more features, much more usability, more convenience, and ultimately a much higher degree of professional processing power than any similar system.
When buying an ATLAS.ti license, the user automatically also receives the committment and dedication of the company’s knowledgeable support staff. Unlike most competitors, ATLAS.ti does not sell separate “maintenance” and support packages–rather, service and continuous “growth” of the software through regular substantial updates are considered an organic part of the program itself.
Economically, the company continues to nearly double its sales every year–more or less without a marketing department and without the aggressive effort to promote its products to which competing products resort.
Today, the program is sold and used around the world, with major organizations and corporate players among its enthusiastic users. The likes of Microsoft, SOS Kinderdorf, United Nations, the World Bank, Google, Yahoo! and thousands of other “heavyweights” from the worlds of academia, business, political and social organizations rely on ATLAS.ti for their qualitative data analysis needs.
To ensure that the company can continue to serve its users in the best way possible, it has continuously increased its team over the years and continues to develop cutting-edge technology with the end-user in mind. ATLAS.ti is particularly proud of the caliber of individuals it attracts.
Today, hundreds of people around the globe are dedicated to provide ATLAS.ti users with a great product and great service. Company, sales, staff, reseller network and user-base all keep growing rapidly and steadily. And the rapidly growing number of users and the enormous positive feedback it receives are an indicator that the concept of ATLAS.ti is on the right track.