Iva Lelková: Visualization of Early Modern Scholarly Correspondence

Iva Lelková: Visualization of Early Modern Scholarly Correspondence

Problems and Questions Demonstrated on an Example of J. A. Comenius’ (1592-1670)


During my stay as a STSM grantee in Milan between 27th September and 23rd October 2015, I collaborated with designers from the DensityDesign Research Lab http://www.densitydesign.org/ at the Politecnico di Milano to explore the possibilities as well as the problems of visualizing of J. A. Comenius’ correspondence.


With their help I identified visualization tools that are easily accessible for a beginning user and experimented with them. I created a list evaluating these tools from my point of view and wrote a diary/blog describing my experiments with the data.


However I soon realized that formatting of the data is the key for even the most simple of visualizations and I learned some basic formatting skills. In order to help other scholars with little experience in data formatting and visualizations, I created a video tutorial https://vimeo.com/144094276 that shows some basic data formatting steps as well as a geographic visualization of Comenius’ correspondence in the visualization tool Carto DB https://cartodb.com/.


At the same time I was also preparing visualizations for the collective volume Practice of Scholarly Communication: Correspondence Networks between Central and Western Europe, 1550-1700 (to be published by Ashgate in 2016) which helped me to get access to various kind of early modern scholarly correspondence data as well as to ideas and visualization requests from scholars.