Digital technology provides unprecedented opportunities for understanding the spatial and temporal dimensions of exchanges of learned correspondence, of the movements of correspondents themselves, and of the discussions taking place within the letters they exchange. The most basic precondition for realizing this potential is the development of standards for presenting spatial and temporal information in catalogue records (II) and in letter texts themselves (III). This will facilitate the development of techniques for analysing large collections of epistolary, prosopographical, and textual data and metadata (IV) and visualizing the results (V), potentially in one or more of pilot projects (VI). At the heart of WG 1 will be a dialogue between historians, geographers, and IT experts aimed at identifying ways in which fresh scholarly questions (I) can be answered through the application of geographical information systems (GIS), network analysis (in partnership with WG 2), natural language processing (in partnership with WG 3), and visualization strategies (in partnership with WG 6).
WG 1 is led by Ian Gregory, Professor of Digital Humanities in the Department of History at Lancaster University. A geographer by training specializing in the application of geographical information systems to humanistic materials, he holds a Starting Researcher Grant from the European Research Council in support of a project entitled ‘Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS, Places’.