Abstract. Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are variable on a wide range of timescales, though relatively few systematic variability surveys have been conducted. Previous broad-band (both spectral and temporal) variability surveys of AGN are limited in their temporal and spectral bandwidth, despite their promise for probing the central engine and black hole mass. We outline optimal properties for variability studies and provide a brief summary of three new variability surveys, two (BATSS and DASCH) about to begin and the third (EXIST) possible within the next decade, which will open new windows on the physics and fundamental properties of AGN. 1
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