Dr Robert V. Mcnamee

Primarily the creation and sustainability of digital scholarly resources and their social and intellectual uses. This is focused on the Electronic Enlightenment Project (EEP), which is recreating digitally the first global social network through a major, critical edition of letters from the 16th–20th centuries. The edition is delivered primarily through two derivative publications: Electronic Enlightenment correspondence (a critical edition of letters), and the Electronic Enlightenment biographical dictionary (identifying historical individuals and organizations). I work with institutions, academics and students worldwide:

  1. On imaging, transcription, editing, translation and digital publication;
  2. On generating and standardizing fundamental metadata systems;
  3. On creating integrated and/or virtual big-data-sets;
  4. On the discovery and exploration of research questions through full-text searching, static and dynamic visualizations, and via programmatic analyses seeking patterns, topic models, rule and/or chaos behaviours, etc.

Grounded on EEP’s unusual status as a self-sustaining humanities’ project (now 20 years from inception), this would focus on building sound scholarly digital resources: from critical editing to refereed, digital publication; and it would include hands-on experience in the sound digital skills that become increasingly necessary to students in the humanities. Additionally, with nearly a dozen successful research applications (including 6 Mellon Foundation awards), EEP can offer advice and support with collaborative grant applications, student award applications (e.g., CDAs), etc.

Following a previous life in physics and computing, I began work in the digital humanities pretty close to their birth. My first major humanities project, created for the Voltaire Foundation and published by ProQuest, was an SGML version of the vast Œuvres complètes de Voltaire. Serendipity linked my monitoring of news from CERN (through the 1990s) with my long-standing interest in letters and correspondence networks, so that when the “Web” was first mooted, I made a link between what it promised and the communication networks of the pre-digital world: letters exchanged, passed on, edited, shared, were like what the Web seemed to promise — and did soon deliver. In the summer of 1995, I was able to use HTML versions 1.1 and then 2.0 (within months of their public release), to create the first “web” model for a letter. Eventually, Electronic Enlightenment could use the World Wide Web to recreate in growing temporal, personal, geographical and linguistic circles the vast, pre-digital “web” of correspondences!

 

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