We had an exciting meeting today with members of Durham University’s Advanced Research Computing group to see whether there’s an opportunity for collaboration on tools to develop the DMNES’s website and to make the data we’ve collected more accessible and useful. We talked about some long-wanted desires, such as having interactive maps tracing the spread of particular names across Europe and over time, as well as more practical matters such as best ways to search and present the data, beyond just the static browse pages we currently have.
There’s a lot of scope for cool projects to be done here, and we’re quite excited about the potential of working together to build some new tools not only to enhance the Dictionary but also to hopefully be of use to other similar digital humanities projects (it would be great if we can harness ARC’s resources to produce research that’s of benefit not only to us but to them as well!). One thing that came out of our discussions is that until we start building things, it’s not entirely clear what sorts of tools could — or should — be built (beyond what’s been mentioned above).
So, here’s where we turn to you, our faithful readers, for input: If the DMNES could do anything (related to given names found in records in Europe between 500 and 1600 🙂 ), what would you like it to be able to do? Whether you’re an onomastician, a historian, a parent, a re-enactor, or simply someone who just finds names neat, we want to hear from you. Hit us with your suggestions, practical, theoretical, and fantastical, and we’ll see what we can do!