[Humanist] 29.117 visualisation of correspondence

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Jun 23 22:35:19 CEST 2015

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 117.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:55:35 +0100
        From: "Niall O'Leary" <nialloleary.dho at gmail.com>
        Subject: Visual Correspondence: Analysing Letters through Data Visualisation

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to alert you to the launch of, "*Visual Correspondence: Analysing
Letters through Data Visualisation*", (http://letters.nialloleary.ie/) a
website devoted to the analysis of historical correspondence.  The site
uses a variety of open source tools to map and graphically illustrate the
networks, activities and locations of a variety of correspondents,

   - Ambrose Bierce
   - Arthur Machen
   - Bess of Hardwick
   - Carl Maria von Weber
   - Charles Darwin
   - Daniel O'Connell
   - Emile Zola
   - Henrik Ibsen
   - Howard Phillips Lovecraft
   - James Barry
   - James Connolly
   - John Millington Synge
   - Mark Twain Letters
   - Rene Descartes
   - Roger Casement
   - Sean O'Casey
   - Thomas MacGreevy
   - Vincent van Gogh
   - William Culen

among many others.  Using only basic metadata, 25 data visualisations
enable the user to gain new insights into over 163,000 letters from 28
collections.  More visualisations are planned in the near future.

The project builds on work originally undertaken with Coventry University,
the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, and others on the project,
“Digitising Experiences of Migration” (http://lettersofmigration.blogspot.ie).
Correspondences’ includes that project’s collection of letters, and many of
the tools built, but extends its functionality and breadth.  Letters from a
variety of online (and offline) sources, have been brought together behind
interactive interface.

All of the visualisations available on this site are interactive allowing
the user to tailor their queries to their own particular needs. Where the
site is particularly useful is in tracking a person’s movements, activity
and development over time. Often this allows us to fill in a gap in the
biographical record.  It is hoped that these data visualisations will serve
as springboards to further research.

As well as providing tools to visualise the metadata, in bringing together
detail on sender, recipient, place and date for over 163,000 letters,
'Visual Correspondence' provides a new way to explore the letters
themselves.  Where possible, links back to the original texts are provided.
Also using data from DBpedia, biographical information and more has been
added to put the letters themselves in more context. Hopefully in exploring
this site, the user will begin to see letter writing for the valuable part
of our history that it is.

Best regards,

Niall O'Leary

Mr Niall O'Leary
Digital Humanities Specialist
Consultancy, Development and Training

Tel: +353 (0)87 9273782

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