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e-Version of the Republic of Letters

Alassi, Sepideh; Rosenthaler, Lukas

This paper presents a novel approach to create an RDF based e-version of the correspondence network by connecting author-centric digital editions platforms without centeralizing data silos. Through one single platform that presents the network, researchers can perform advanced metadata and asynchronous full-text queries over the entire network to find resources for their research inventory and directly access the data. The advanced search tools of the platform, allow researchers to channel their expertise into the analysis of the resources and their relations rather than a quest for them. Based on this work, this paper introduces a new research method, The Network Method, to study the historical data as a graph. It also argues that visualization of the RDF based network of correspondence as web-based interactive 3D force-directed graphs empowers relational thinking by depicting the connections between resources and drawing the researcher's attention to the connection between the atoms of knowledge, data distribution, irregularities, etc. Furthermore, this paper presents a new feature that adds the time-dimension to the visualization of the correspondence data which enables researchers to study the change in the topic of correspondence over time.

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