Current research projects

As an Independent Research Organisation, we lead and produce high-quality, inter-disciplinary research.
Read more about some of our projects, using this set of links:

  1. Assessing deterioration in negatives and moving pictures
  2. ARCHANGEL – Trusted archives of digital public records
  3. Tudor chamber books: kingship, court and society, 1485-1521
  4. Shell shock, syphilis and self-inflicted wounds: injury, disease and discipline in the British Army during the First World War
  5. Research network: Record DNA

1. Assessing deterioration in negatives and moving pictures

Partners: British Film Institute (BFI)

Timeframe: 2016-2017

Aims: to enhance our understanding of the deterioration of film. This pilot project is focusing on the BFI’s collection of very early British film (some dating back to the 1880s), which is being digitised as part of the Unlocking Film Heritage programme.

Our conservation scientists have been researching the process variations and physicochemical conditions of film samples using a variety of techniques. We are currently assessing the usefulness of Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy in identifying film deterioration processes before they become visible to the naked eye.
This study is an opportunity for heritage science research to inform the management of large collections. Through the project we are establishing a working protocol for successful collaboration, knowledge sharing and public engagement.

Find out more about this project.

2. ARCHANGEL – Trusted archives of digital public records

Partners: University of Surrey; Guardtime; Methods Digital Limited; Open Data Institute; Voetek

Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Timeframe: 2017-2018

Aims: to work to ensure the long-term sustainability of digital archives through the design, development and trialling of transformational new distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Archives and Memory Institutions (AMIs) are founded on the principle of public trust, of being neutral and objective. Today’s digital age presents new socio-technical challenges to AMIs around safeguarding of data.

What are the implications of data migrations resulting in minor losses of fidelity one hundred years from now? How can the public be sure that digital content when released is fundamentally unaltered from the original?

Find out more about this project.

3. Tudor chamber books: kingship, court and society, 1485-1521

Partners: University of Winchester; University of Sheffield

Funder: The Leverhulme Trust
Timeframe: 2016-2018

Aims: to transcribe, tag and mark up over 4,000 pages of detailed accounts held at The National Archives and the British Library, and present them in a fully searchable web resource which will be developed and hosted by the Digital Humanities Institute at the University of Sheffield.

The project will offer a revision of the nature of early Tudor kingship on the eve of the Reformation. The site will allow comprehensive searching, browsing and calculation of the cash flow of Henry VII and Henry VIII for the first time.

An end of project conference will take place at Winchester in 2018, and a book entitled Kingship and Political Society, 1485-1529 is planned for 2020.

Find out more about this project.

4. Shell shock, syphilis and self-inflicted wounds: injury, disease and discipline in the British Army during the First World War

Funder: the Wellcome Trust
Timeframe: 2017-2019
Aims: to make available detailed catalogue entries to the thousands of medical sheets for First World War army personnel.

This project will see 135 of these boxes (around 50,000 items) to allow individual cases to be searched for and found. This data will then be made available through Discovery, our catalogue.

Researchers will be able to search for specific people by using search terms such as ‘John Smith’, ‘Corporal’, or ‘East Lancashire Regiment’. They will also be able to search for medical conditions, illnesses or injuries such as ‘gas-poisoning’, ‘asthma’ or ‘diarrhoea’.

In addition we will produce two peer-reviewed articles and several talks/papers.

This will be a major new resource for researchers, exposing many of the fascinating stories contained within this collection.

Find out more about this project.

5. Research network: Record DNA

Partners: Northumbria University; University College London; Ron Donaldson; School of Advanced Study, University of London; University of Cambridge

Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Timeframe: 2017-2018

Aims: to bring together an international network of practitioners, academics and others to explore the nature of the DNA of a digital record and work towards a new conceptualisation.

In the digital era, what is the concept of the record and what implications are there for the usability of the future evidence base?

Through a series of events, the network will identify the key challenges for ensuring the future usability of the digital records evidence base and propose a research agenda to address the challenges.

Find out more about this project.