This project will focus on a body of 53,000 18th-century letters and analyze the degree to which the effects of the Enlightenment can be observed in the letters of people of various occupations. The project is lead by humanities scholars, librarians, and computer scientists from Stanford University, the University of Oklahoma, and Oxford University.
The Digging Into the Enlightenment: Mapping The Republic of Letters project is a collaborative effort between humanities scholars and computer scientists at Stanford University and the University of Oklahoma in the United States, and at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Our research hypothesis is that we can revolutionize the practice of interpretive research in the humanities by integrating innovative visualization and annotation techniques into highly interactive tools for excavating and dissecting details about people, places, times, and relationships in large data sets. Our project focuses on the Electronic Enlightenment (EE), a University of Oxford collection currently containing more than 53,000 letters. The goal of the project is thus to develop new visualization techniques and tools that support research into the "Republic of Letters" by facilitating interpretation of the complex data sets that have been materialized from this predominantly textual archival collection.