Joined Up Early Modern Diplomacy

Another winner of a DM2E Open Humanities award being presented today by Robyn Adams ( from the Center for Editing Lives and Letters. Project looked at repurposing data from the letters of Thomas Bodley (responsible for the refurbishment of the library at the University Oxford – creating the Bodleian Library).

Bodley’s letters are held in archives around the world. The letters are full of references to places, people etc. The letters had been digitised and transcribed – using software called ‘Transcribers Workbench’ developed specifically to help with early modern English writing. In order to make the transcribed data more valuable and usable decided to encode people and places from the letters – unfunded work on limited resources. Complicated by obscure references and also sometimes errors in the letters (e.g. Bodley states ‘the eldest son is to be married’ when it turns out it was the youngest son – makes researching the person to which Bodley is referring difficult).

This work was done in the absence of any specific use case. Now Robyn is re-approaching the data encoded as a consumer – to see how they can look for connections in the data to gain new insights

The data is available on Github at

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