The Digital Humanities research on this project was part of a wider period of research into digital editing, digital publication, geospatial analysis & visualisation, semantic representation and computer-based approaches to historical research (and the humanities more generally) which started at the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London (then called CCH) at the end of the last millennium. This research was carried out through dozens of collaborative research projects, involving the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London as digital humanities research lead, and scholars at numerous other institutions directing the humanities/historical research.
The research we are describing here drew on earlier research into digital approaches to prosopography led by John Bradley and Harold Short, but the approach taken on the Gascon Rolls project was part of a decade of research which focused on text-driven approaches to historical research, modelled closely on a technology called XML which is useful for creating platform neutral and re-usable research content, and which is now widely used in publishing. In particular, this research drew on an earlier AHRC-funded project called Fine Rolls of Henry III (http://www.frh3.org.uk), and, to some extent, it influenced the technical design on another AHRC-funded project called Mapping the Medieval Countryside (http://www.inquisitionspostmortem.ac.uk/), although it also drew inspiration from many other excellent projects too numerous to mention here.
The first (AHRC-funded) phase of the Gascon Rolls project led to the construction of a sophisticated technical framework for the project - which, for example, has been used to edit the rolls, to manage the information structures which model complex relationships between people, places and other ‘entities’, and to then publish them as an integrated website - while the second (with funding from Bordeaux) and third (Leverhulme-funded) phases have aimed to provide responses to the following questions:
More specifically, the research has drawn together a number of threads which characterised Digital Humanities (DH) research in this period, namely: