The SwissBritNet project proposes to make a substantial corpus of 17th- and 18th-century documents available in a user-friendly database which will allow students, scholars and a wider audience to investigate Swiss-British relations in the early modern period and so deepen our understanding of early modern networks of knowledge. The study of early modern transnational relations in Europe has been advanced in recent years by digital humanities initiatives enabling the large-scale collection, visualisation and analysis of data designed to improve our knowledge of the Republic of Letters. Joining this international research community, we will highlight the nature and relevance of Swiss-British relations. While both continental anglophilia and the British enthusiasm for Switzerland are often seen as late-18th-century phenomena, we will show that they have a long and intricate history. These exchanges are hidden in thousands of unpublished manuscripts and obscure print items which need to be digitised, transcribed and made searchable online.
SwissBritNet will contribute to a more complete picture of the early modern Republic of Letters by making Swiss-British relations and exchanges visible in context. Building on existing database projects and sharing data with the well-established hallerNet platform, we will develop advanced search options, visualisation tools and linked data solutions. Innovative search options will permit complex network analysis, and case studies will ensure that data is modelled with well-considered research questions in mind. SwissBritNet will offer fully edited and searchable texts of 1300-plus hitherto unpublished documents from Swiss and British libraries and the metadata for thousands more print and manuscript items, innovative linked-data solutions which enable collaborations with existing databases and visualisations for search results such as maps, graphs, timelines and 3-D animations.
The SwissBritNet database will enable complex inquiries into the networked structure of the Republic of Letters by providing an interoperable, multi-modal database that connects to and shares data with other platforms. Representative case studies based on the corpus will be published in open access monographs and articles. Publications and outreach activities including conferences, an exhibition and transnational stories on the SwissBritNet website will disseminate findings to the academic community and a wider public. For data access longevity, compatibility will be ensured with the DaSCH platform. We are committed to an open access policy and sustainability according to the FAIR principles so that data and software will be freely and reliably accessible to the scientific community.