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Presenting EMLO at Digital Transformations Moot

Howard mid-‘yack’

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An outing to London last Monday when we presented Early Modern Letters Online at the Digital Transformations Moot, curated and funded by the AHRC. The day long event brought together digital humanists with thinkers and practitioners from other disciplines and sectors ‘to explore the possibilities of the Digital Transformations theme for new and exciting ways of working: to hack, to make, to break’.

The Moot did a great job of showcasing the very wide range of work (and attendant debates) currently being done at the intersection of the humanities and the technical, and in particular in highlighting and fostering new kinds of connections between digital technologies, arts and the humanities, and the creative and cultural industries (the latter being much more strongly represented than is usual at DH gatherings). It was also really interesting from the perspective of event design. Decked out in bracing, challenging terminology – debates were ‘moots’; delegates were ‘mootlings’; papers became ‘yacks’ – the day spread keynote lectures, panel discussions, software demos, and PechaKucha-style talks across multiple tracks and spaces in a kind of freeform digital smörgåsbord that rewarded curiosity and encouraged the creation of individual narratives and serendipitous connections between the sampled components. Further details on the Moot webpage, while the Twitter hashtag was #digitrans; videos of the various live streams will be posted the the webpage shortly.

The Correspondence of John Wallis: Introducing Volume III


We are pleased to report that Volume III of The Correspondence of John Wallis (1616-1703) one of a number of epistolary editions the Project is supporting, and the latest installment of the prestigious multi-volume edition of the mathematician’s letters  is now available for pre-order from Oxford University Press, pending publication in May. Painstakingly crafted by our Research Fellow Philip Beeley in conjunction with Christoph J. Scriba, work on the third volume began in the context of the AHRC-funded Wallis Project, and has been completed under the auspices of Cultures of Knowledge.

Consisting of 254 letters in total, the volume covers the exciting period 1668 to 1671, during which England was at peace with itself and its neighbours, publication techniques were becoming ever-more sophisticated (especially with the emergence of academic journals), and scientific activity thrived across the continent. It finds Wallis embroiled in fascinating debates on techniques for determining areas contained by curves (quadratures) and figures (cubatures), as well as on theories of motion and the nature of tides. Other volume highlights include Wallis’s celebrated disputes with Thomas Hobbes and French mathematician François Dulaurens, and ceremonial visits to Oxford by the Crown Prince of Tuscany and William of Orange, during which – in telling evidence of rapid disciplinary consolidation – Wallis presented the visiting dignitaries with examples of state-of-the-art geometrical thinking. Below, Philip discusses the latest installment and looks ahead to Volume IV, which will be delivered in the summer.

For further publication details and to pre-order your copy, please visit the OUP website. For background information about Wallis and other outputs emerging from this sub-project (including podcasts, video, and a complete catalogue of Wallis’s extensive correspondence within Early Modern Letters Online), head along to the Wallis webpage.

Intellectual Geography Conference Videos Now Available


Videos of twenty-one papers and keynotes from our 2011 conference Intellectual Geography: Comparative Studies, 1550-1700 (Oxford, 5-7 September 2011) are now available on the conference website or via our Vimeo channel (with more hopefully to come). Organised by Howard Hotson, the event introduced and tested the novel concept of ‘intellectual geography’ as a means of appreciating and understanding the organisation of intellectual activity and the dissemination of ideas within space and across time, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. A taster – Miles Ogborn‘s keynote exploration of ‘What is Intellectual Geography?’ – is provided below. Happy viewing!

Visualizing and Navigating the Republic of Letters

Update: Preview some preliminary results

We are fortunate to have with us this week Scott Weingart, a former student of Robert A. Hatch and an up-and-coming visualization expert from Indiana University‘s Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center. Following on from a workshop at Mapping the Republic of Letters (Stanford) and a three-month stint at CKCC (Huygens Institute), Scott will be spending time with our union catalogue development team at BDLSS, raising awareness of the various techniques and technologies available for representing and visualizing large epistolary datasets. Scott kicked off his stay with a well-attended presentation on ‘Analyzing, Visualizing, and Navigating the Republic of Letters’ on Monday 11 July. In a two-part discussion, Scott provided a general introduction to the many uses and histories of visualizations, before describing in detail the various software packages and data formats necessary for implementation. Both of Scott’s talks can be watched again below; you can also ‘click along’ with his slides.

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Implementation