Visualization of Early Modern Scholarly Correspondence

Iva Lelková

Visualization of Early Modern Scholarly Correspondence

Problems and Questions Demonstrated in an Example from the correspondence of J. A. Comenius (1592-1670)

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

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

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

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