Digging into Data

Digging into the Enlightenment: mapping the Republic of Letters

An exciting collaboration between the Electronic Enlightenment Project (University of Oxford) and the Mapping the Republic of Letters Project (Stanford University) with participation of Chris Weaver at the University of Oklahoma, is one of just eight international academic teams to be awarded a grant under the 2009–2010 Digging Into Data Challenge. This major international research award, funded by NEH (USA), JISC (UK), NSF (USA) and SSHRC (Canada), sets out a creative challenge to academics working with digital resources, namely:

. . . to answer the question "what do you do with a million books?" Or a million pages of newspapers? Or a million photographs of artworks? That is, how does the notion of scale affect humanities and social science research? Now that scholars have access to huge repositories of digitised data — far more than they could read in a lifetime — what does that mean for research?

JISC: Digging into Data Challenge

This initiative involves mining and interpreting details relating to locations drawn from Electronic Enlightenment's corpus of 79,254 letters and documents from the long 18th century. The international project team will explore ways to visualize and annotate these relationships, developing sophisticated new tools to map and explore the complex geographical interconnections between these tens of thousands of letters to and from forty countries across Europe, Asia, and North and South America that can be found in the EE collection.

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Sponsored by JISC

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