Connected Histories: Sources for Building British History, 1500-1900 | Institute of Historical Research:
Early modern and nineteenth-century Britain is one of the times and places in history for which the largest number of digital sources is available. These have been created by universities, archives and commercial providers, and are accessed by tens of thousands of individuals each day. But many are under-exploited, and researchers are hampered in the way they use these materials by their distributed nature and the variable forms of tagging and structure present in each resource. Connected Histories provides the next stage in meeting historians’ needs by addressing the requirement to access historical resources in a single, consistent way; and in a manner that moves beyond simple keyword searching to a forensic and semantically-driven approach.
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Using metadata and other available background information, the project will create a search facility that adapts to each resource (depending on whether and how the data is tagged, and on the text structure) to allow searching across the full range of chosen sources for names, places, and dates, as well as keywords and phrases. Background information about the search results will be delivered to the end user, and a facility to save and export search results for further analysis will also be provided. An online collaborative workspace will allow users to document connections between sources. The search facility will be expandable as new digital resources become available.