Negotiated Texts Network for researchers launched at Pembroke College

Negotiated Texts Network for researchers launched at Pembroke College

A new network set up by the people behind the Quill platform will bring together researchers working on the records of formal negotiations, especially those using digital and statistical methodologies for research or seeking to use digital platforms for teaching and public engagement.

Some of the most critical and foundational documents of the modern world have been created by a formal process of negotiation, often over extended periods of time. Examples include constitutions, treaties and ordinary legislation, together with documents such as the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights, or the foundational treaties of the European Union. The records of these negotiations can be extremely challenging to read as amendment after amendment adjusts the document under discussion in ways that were obvious to participants but which are difficult for readers to visualize.

The Quill platform was set up in October 2016 to assist the study of negotiated texts, providing a variety of innovative tools for readers and editors, as well as links to material hosted on other platforms. This platform has been built to show both the chronology of events and the hierarchy of decision-making within a process of formal negotiation, while allowing users to view a reconstruction of the state of documents available to a committee during any moment of its deliberations.

The project team includes the Centre's Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman and Professor David De Roure; Dr Nicholas Cole, Senior Research Fellow in History at Pembroke College; Pip Willcox, Head of the Centre for Digital Scholarship at the Bodleian; and Oxford graduate Grace Mallon.

Nicholas Cole, Pip Willcox and Grace Mallon presented at the recent network launch at Pembroke College Oxford, along with Dr Rob Johnson of Pembroke College and Dr Ben Noble of New College, Oxford.

The Negotiated Texts network will build on topics identified during the platform's official launch last year. It will refine and develop understanding of the problems posed by this material for researchers; promote an understanding of the existing tools for their exploration; investigate new ways to extend and integrate those tools; and explore new ways to present this category of material to a non-expert audience.


Drs Cole and Abdul-Rahaman will also present a free seminar about the Quill project on Friday 10th March, 2-3pm, at the Oxford e-Research Centre - no registration required.