WG3 will complement the strategies for assembling and exploring data on correspondence and correspondents pursued in WGs 1–2 with study of digital means of engaging with the texts of letters themselves. This requires agreeing standards for the presentation of texts both as images (of manuscripts or printed books) and in digital form (I). It also requires developing tools to aid transcription, annotation, and collaborative editing, and for transforming digital editions into print (II). For exploring vast quantities of highly fragmentary textual material, text mining and topic modelling must be deployed (III). Since tools useful to scholars can only be developed by studying scholarly working methods, the Action’s Training Schools will be adapted to the purpose of such study, alongside the induction of a new generation into emerging tools and techniques (IV). WG 3 is also the place in which broader discussion of how the tools developed in all the WGs can be assembled to create an integrated and user-friendly ‘Virtual Research Environment’ (IV).
WG 3 led by Charles van den Heuvel, Professor of Digital Method in Historical Disciplines, University of Amsterdam; Head of the Research of the Group ‘History of Science and Scholarship’ at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands in The Hague; Senior Researcher in the Virtual Knowledge Studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He also plays a central role in the pioneering DH project, ‘Circulation of Knowledge and Learned Practices in the 17th-century Dutch Republic’, responsible for the most advanced experiment with the application of IT to topic modelling of large and multilingual corpora of correspondence: the ePistolarium.