Yes – I’m taking a break (mostly) from 18th-century London, and for the next few months I’ll be working on Manuscripts Online: Written Culture from 1000 to 1500, a kind of sequel to Connected Histories for medievalists.
Manuscripts Online will enable users to search an enormous body of online primary resources relating to written and early printed culture in Britain during the period 1000 to 1500.
A single search engine will enable users to undertake sophisticated full-text searching of literary manuscripts, historical documents and early printed books which are located on websites owned by libraries, archives, universities and publishers. Users will be able to search the resources by keyword, but also by specific keyword types, such as person and place name, date and language (eg. Middle English, Latin and Anglo-Norman), thanks to techniques which we are using called automated entity recognition. Additionally, users will be able to visualise search results using maps of medieval Britain and create their own annotations to the data for public consumption, thereby building a knowledge base around this critical mass of primary source data.
Please spread the word to anyone who you think might be interested! Right now, we’re looking for willing volunteers to help with user testing – if you’d like to be involved in developing the site right from the beginning or know anyone who might (students, academics and non-academics are all welcome), there is more info here.