Reconstructing the Phillipps Collection (Phillipps pilot)

CORE Admin
View of the Object 'Phillipps MS 3902' in the Type 'Manuscripts'.
This project traces the history of manuscripts, and maps the provenance events and ownership networks which are embodied in that history
Toby Burrows (School of Humanities, University of Western Australia, and Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford)

Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) put together the largest personal collection of European manuscripts ever assembled, containing as many as 60,000 items. The manuscripts had varied geographical origins, were written in many different languages, and covered a wide range of subjects and topics. Their dispersal took place gradually over more than one hundred years after Phillipps’ death, and their modern locations are spread across the globe.

The aim of this project is to trace the history of these manuscripts, and to map the provenance events and ownership networks which are embodied in that history. This involves bringing together heterogenous data from a variety of sources, constructing a data model to harmonize the data, and visualizing the data in the form of maps and graphs.

nodegoat is the software platform I chose for the project. It enabled me to build my own data model, which combines descriptions of individual manuscripts with ownership events in their history. Data can be uploaded in batch from spreadsheets, as well as entered through customized input forms. The provenance histories can be viewed as geographical trajectories over the centuries, and can also be displayed as time-based network graphs. nodegoat is the ideal vehicle for my explorations of manuscript histories.

This project has been funded by an European Union Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship (2014-2016).

Project website:
Public User Interface:

Geographic visualisation of all the Objects in the Type 'Manuscripts', including the Sub-Objects 'Manuscript Sold', 'Manuscript Described In', 'Manuscript Owned', 'Manuscript Produced'.