Representing and Exploring Negotiated Texts workshop 25th Jan

Representing and Exploring Negotiated Texts workshop 25th Jan

The Centre's Research Associate Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman recently held a workshop around the new Quill project, along with Dr Nicholas Cole, Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College and graduate student Grace Mallon.

Quill is a platform for the study of negotiated texts, developed by Drs Cole and Abdul-Rahman and focusing especially on the creation of constitutions, treaties, and legislation – the project was originally conceived to assist research into the four-month long 1787 US Constitutional Convention process.

The half-day workshop, Representing and Exploring Negotiated Texts, on Wednesday 25th January at Oxford University's Weston Library, guided participants through the range of tools that the Quill platform provides, including its data-entry interfaces. The workshop used records provided by the U.N. on the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to guide users through the process of using the editorial and data-entry tools provided by the Quill Platform.

It was aimed at people researching/studying parliamentary or quasi-parliamentary processes and the records they produce. It also presented an opportunity to discuss the design of the platform and the ways in which it could be used for future research projects.

The Quill platform is designed to make it easier to understand the contexts in which decisions are made, the relationship between documents, and the influence of individuals and delegations within a formal process of negotiation.

It also allows for more detailed, collaboratively written, commentaries and other supporting material to be presented to users, as appropriate for a range of research, teaching, and public-engagement tasks. There is a strong emphasis throughout the platform on ways to interface with material presented by other digital platforms.

Quill network

The Quill project has also launched a network for 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.

The Negotiated Texts network will build on topics identified during the platform's official launch last October. 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.

For more information see