Quill Project: Constitutions and other Negotiated Texts

Access: If you have a University or Bodleian Reader’s card, you can get to the Centre for Digital Scholarship through the Mackerras Reading Room on the first floor of the Weston Library, around the gallery. If you do not have access to the Weston Library you are more than welcome to attend the talk: please contact the organizer.

The Quill platform is a new project to facilitate research into the process by which committees negotiate texts, especially in the context of constitutional conventions and legislative assemblies.  The initial project is based around the records of the 1787 Constitutional Convention that produced the Constitution of the United States, and the Quill platform aims to transcend traditional narrative accounts by presenting users with a more detailed and intuitive reconstruction of the process of negotiation.  We will present both the historical problems that this platform aims to address, and the approaches that we have adopted in building the Quill system.

Nicholas Cole is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College Oxford, specializing in the history of political thought and American Constitutional History. He is currently working with the National Archives on an AHRC bid which will use the Quill Platform to present the records of the Versailles Treaty to a wider audience in time for the 2019 anniversary of its signing.

Alfie Abdul-Rahman is a Research Associate at the Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford. She has been involved with the Imagery Lenses for Visualizing Text Corpora and Commonplace Cultures: Mining Shared Passages in the 18th Century using Sequence Alignment and Visual Analytics, developing web-based visualization tools for humanities scholars, such as Poem Viewer and ViTA: Visualization for Text Alignment.