Past research projects

Browse a selection of research projects we’ve completed in the past few years.

  1. Traces through Time
  2. Big data for Law
  3. Knowledge Transfer Partnership
  4. New connections: The BT e-archive
  5. Research network: Born-digital methods and data for the humanities

1. Traces through Time

Partners: Institute for Historical Research, University of Brighton, University of Leiden

Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council and The National Archives

Timeframe: (2014-2017 including 15 months of external funding)

Aims: To develop new algorithms and models to link individuals with confidence across large, diverse historical data.

The first, research phase of the project developed new probabilistic models and tools that allow researchers to trace and connect individuals, with confidence, across historical ‘big data’.

In the second, implementation phase we exploited this research to create a new navigation feature in our catalogue, Discovery, which provides researchers with suggested links between records that may relate to the same people, with associated confidence measures.

Find out more about this project in our blog posts, Making connections and What’s in a name?

2. Big Data for Law

Partners: Incorporated Council of Law Reporting; LexisNexis; Office of the Parliamentary Counsel; Office for Official Publications of the European Communities; Thomson Reuters.

Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Timeframe: 2013-2015

Aims: to create new legislation data research infrastructure, support downloadable data and online tools, and investigate the idea of a pattern language for mapping the statute book of UK legislation.

Researchers typically lack the raw data, tools and methods to undertake research across the whole statute book. This project provided data, tools and trusted methods to enable big data research across legislation.

Find out more about this project.

3. Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Partners: IMC Group Ltd

Funder: Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK), plus additional funding from the industry partner

Timeframe: 2013-2015

Aims: to develop specialised software for risk-based assessment of environmental conditions in storage of cultural heritage collections.

The project created graphical representations that correlate environmental monitoring data and indicators of preservation in order to develop reporting tools that can inform management decisions for improving preservation environments and meeting sustainability targets.

The National Archives is now using the software developed through the project, called Ensight, for its annual environmental assessment. We are also leading in the development of new specifications for managing environmental conditions in cultural collections.

Find out more about Ensight.

4. New connections: The BT e-archive

Partners: Coventry University; BT Heritage

Funder: Jisc

Timeframe: 2011-2013

Aims: to digitise BT’s physical archive, making almost half a million photographs, documents and correspondence available online.

Images and documents detail how Britain laid the foundations for global communications, including the first telephone exchange in 1879 and the Queen making the first automatic long-distance telephone call in the 1950s.

The team produced case studies which show how digitised archival material can be used to explore new avenues both in teaching and research in a wide range of subjects, from design to linguistic and cultural studies.

Find out more about this project

5. Research network: Born-digital methods and data for the humanities

Partners: School of Advanced Study, University of London; King’s College London; University of Cambridge; University of Sussex; University of Waterloo; British Library.

Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Timeframe: 2016-2017

Aims: to bring together a network that will deliver an understanding of the potential of born-digital big data for humanities research.

How are humanities researchers engaging with this source, which includes the live and archived web, aggregated tweets and emails? What kinds of questions will this data allow us to ask and answer? What insights can scholars in the humanities learn from the computer and social sciences, and from the archives and libraries who are concerned with securing all of this information?

An exchange of knowledge and experience will take place through a series of workshops across the network, and will be distilled into a white paper.

Find out more about this project.