Working Groups

At the centre of this Action are six Working Groups, the scope of which is determined by the basic features of letters themselves. Letters are written documents sent by a one or more person(s) at a specific time and place to one or more other person(s) in another place. The spatial and temporal, personal, textual, and material features of letters structure the agenda of four Working Groups; while the other two Working Groups are devoted to the means of bringing data on all these dimensions together and rendering it visible and intelligible to a variety of audiences. The briefing document detailing the functioning of the Working Groups is available for download here.

Working Group 1

Space and Time

 

WG 1 considers how to identify, represent, analyse, and visualize the data on the spatial and chronological dimensions of correspondence networks found in catalogue records, in letter texts, and in prosopographical data on letter writers and recipients.

 

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Working Group 2

People and Networks

 

WG 2 studies how best to structure and assemble biographical data describing the citizens of the republic of letters, as well as how to structure, analyse, and visualize data on the networks created by epistolary and related forms of learned exchange.

 

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Working Group 3

Text and Topics

 

WG 3 focuses on the presentation of letters as images and digital texts, the development of tools for transcribing, annotating, editing, text mining, and topic modelling them, the translation from print to digital form and vice versa, and the use of training schools to help specify a virtual research environment adapted for the study of this material.

 

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Working Group 4

Documents and Collections

 

WG 4 will develop means of describing the physical characteristics of letters, of capturing information on their provenance history, and of assembling information on collections of learned correspondence and existing aids for finding them.

 

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Working Group 5

Data Exchange and Strategic Planning

 

WG 5 deals with the means of generating standardized digital data of all these kinds in unprecedented quantities, the technical and legal arrangements necessary for exchanging them between participating individuals, projects, and institutions, and the problems of funding and long-term preservation and sustainability.

 

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Working Group 6

Visualization and Communication

 

WG 6 will conceptualize and specify a new generation of visualization tools applicable to all stages in the process of working with epistolary data, and will consider means of communicating both the scholarly and the technical interest of the Action to a variety of different audiences, within and especially beyond the academy.

 

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Each Working Group breaks down these large issues into component problems and pursues consensual solutions with them in discussion with archivists, librarians, IT experts, and scholars from a variety of fields drawn from across and beyond Europe.