Quill project team launches network for researchers

Quill project team launches network for researchers

A new network launched by the people behind the Quill platform will bring together researchers working on the records of formal negotiations, especially those using digital and statistical methodologies for research or seeking to use digital platforms for teaching and public engagement.

The team includes the Centre's Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman and Professor David De Roure; Dr Nicholas Cole, Senior Research Fellow in History at Pembroke College; Pip Willcox, Head of the Centre for Digital Scholarship at the Bodleian; and Oxford graduate Grace Mallon.

Quill is a platform for the study of negotiated texts, providing a variety of innovative tools for readers and editors, as well as links to material hosted on other platforms. This platform has been built to show both the chronology of events and the hierarchy of decision-making within a process of formal negotiation, while allowing users to view a reconstruction of the state of documents available to a committee during any moment of its deliberations.

The Negotiated Texts network will build on topics identified during the platform's official launch last October. It will refine and develop understanding of the problems posed by this material for researchers; promote an understanding of the existing tools for their exploration; investigate new ways to extend and integrate those tools; and explore new ways to present this category of material to a non-expert audience.

Some of the most critical and foundational documents of the modern world have been created not by individuals but by a formal process of negotiation, usually involving a quasi-Parliamentary procedure of committees and sub-committees, often over extended periods of time. Examples include constitutions, treaties or ordinary legislation, together with documents such as the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights, or the foundational treaties of the European Union. The records of these negotiations can be extremely challenging to read as amendment after amendment adjusts the document under discussion in ways that were obvious to participants but which are difficult for readers to visualize, and negotiations stretch over months or years.

A Quill workshop is also being held on 25th January to guide participants through the range of tools that the Quill platform provides.