This CLARIN-Education module aims at getting students acquainted with visual analytical methods using the tool ePistolarium developed within the context of the project Circulation of Knowledge and learned practices in the 17th Century Dutch Republic. A Web-based Humanities collaboratory on correspondences. The website ckcc.huygens.knaw.nl (tab Home) provides a general description of the project and an instruction video for using the ePistolarium tool.
The ePistolarium tool has been developed, in the context of a NWO- Middle Infrastructure grant of the Netherlands Organization of Science (NWO) with additional funding of CLARIN Europe and CLARIN Netherlands with the aim to analyse and visualise themes of interest and debates in 17th century networks of Dutch scholars or scientists working in the Dutch Republic in a corpus of approximately 20,000 letters of scholars such as, Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens, Descartes, Grotius, Swammerdam, Barlaeus, Beeckman and Van Nierop. The various analytical and visualization methods are described in detail on the web page: “Methodology” and the web page: “First experiments” provides brief reports of tests with the ePistolarium tool.
Daan Wegener (PhD), historian and philosopher of science and natural sciences teacher developed on commission of the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands three overarching case studies containing sub cases, assignments and research questions to test the tool and to enable comparisons with similar projects analyzing the Republic of Letters.
In this assignment students are taught how to refine their queries in order to answer a research question regarding the news. Furthermore, it addresses the issue of reciprocity in intellectual networks, a recurrent theme in the historiography of correspondences between scholars in the Republic of Letters. Moreover, it demonstrates an experiment with data in the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands in which the reciprocity in the correspondences.