Mapping the Republic of Letters explores scholarly networks from Erasmus to Benjamin Franklin using vizualization, timelines, and network analysis. The project’s datasets includes information on scholarly correspondence, correspondence networks, publications, maps, and travelogs. To date it includes case studies on Voltaire, Galileo, and Athanasius Kircher.
Started in 2009, the database now offers free online access to the records of about 45,000 letters written by or to learned physicians in the German lands between 1500 and 1700. These letters contain a wealth of information not only about medical and natural philosophical issues but also on family matters, political and confessional conflicts, on cities and courts and many other topics. In addition to the basic data (names, date, places), thousands of datasets contain a detailed summary of the letter in question. Recently, an English-language user surface has been added and over the next years English translations of the German summaries will be added.
The project aims to explore and visualize how knowledge circulated during the booming scientific revolution of the 17th-century. The CKCC project built a web application called ePistolarium. With this application researchers can browse and analyze around 20,000 letters that were written by and sent to 17th century scholars who lived in the Dutch Republic. Moreover, the ePistolarium enables visualizations of geographical, time-based, social network and co-citation inquiries.