[okfn-discuss] Fwd: New release: Addressing history - a new searchable historical database

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Wed Nov 17 12:59:21 UTC 2010

On 17/11/2010 12:33, Jonathan Gray wrote:
> Anyone know about this? And what license its under? ;-)

Nice work by EDINA colleagues. The press release below says it all.

See the FAQ for the licensing of the scanned/OCR'd materials: 
Are there any licensing restrictions associated with the Scottish Post 
Office Directories?

The National Library of Scotland are currently scanning, OCRing (Optical 
Character Recognition - an automatic way to transcribe text) and 
publishing the historic Scottish Post Office Directories in partnership 
with the Internet Archive and as such the content is free of 
Intellectual Property Rights and in the public domain.

Good. Unclear on re-use of the data available via the API, have passed 
the question along to Stuart Macdonald/Nicola Osborne, but they're 
terrifically busy today preparing for the "launch event" at NLS...

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Maike Bohn<m.bohn at jisc.ac.uk>
> Date: Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 12:23 PM
> Subject: New release: Addressing history - a new searchable historical database
> To: JISC-ANNOUNCE at jiscmail.ac.uk
> AddressingHistory, a new website launching today, is asking history
> enthusiasts to explore their ancestors and local historical
> connections by finding and placing historical Scottish Post Office
> Directory listings on the map.
> Funded by JISC, the AddressingHistory website combines the listings
> from the Directories, historical forerunners of Yellow Pages, with
> maps from the same years. The site, which is free to use, allows users
> to search for historical people, places and professions and presents
> results both on a map and as an editable listing that links to the
> full digitised Directory page.
> http://addressinghistory.edina.ac.uk/
> Richard Rodger, Professor of Economic and Social History at the
> University of Edinburgh said: “The Directories are particularly useful
> not just for academics, for people who are professional historians
> like myself, but also for local historians, school projects, really
> for anybody who is interested in the way in which a city worked, how
> it functioned. We can relate that to published work, to literature, to
> other themes of historical analysis, to understand how change takes
> place to our city”
> AddressingHistory, developed by the JISC-funded data centre EDINA at
> the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the National Library
> of Scotland, launches with three Edinburgh Post Office Directories
> from 1784-5, 1865 and 1905-6. They cover the period from the end of
> the Scottish Enlightenment to the running of the city’s first electric
> trams although, as Stuart Macdonald of the project team notes: “The
> online tool has been designed to be scalable to accommodate the wider
> range of Post Office Directories for the whole of Scotland.”
> In addition to being a unique and noteworthy collection of street,
> commercial, trades, law, court, parliamentary and postal information
> relating to the city, the Edinburgh Directories also provide a wealth
> of detailed information regarding residential names, occupations and
> addresses.
> AddressingHistory harnesses the power of ‘the crowd’ by enabling users
> to add to, or suggest corrections to, the Directory information It is
> the addition of the geo-reference that allows the instant creation of
> new maps to visualise the Directory listings – for example, the
> historic distribution of shipwrights in Edinburgh can be plotted on a
> base map at the touch of a button, and the map itself can be used to
> look at the changing distributions of people and professions over
> time). Similarly, personalised maps illustrating family histories,
> maps tracking changes in local communities, and maps linking to other
> digitised materials such as census records, historical addresses and
> geo-referenced images, can all be explored through the online tool.
> Chris Fleet, Senior Map Curator at the National Library of Scotland,
> describes the role of mapping in the project:
> "Geo-referencing the content of the Post Office Directories, and
> creating dynamic maps of people or professions at the touch of a
> button, opens up a whole new graphical way of visualising the
> Directory content. By linking the results to a map of the same time
> period, the distributions can also be understood and appreciated much
> more readily. The AddressingHistory tool illustrates this new and
> powerful way of interrogating the Directories cartographically and
> geographically, and allows an important, but often neglected genre of
> urban mapping to be given a new relevance today."
> Alastair Dunning of JISC, which has funded the development of the
> site, said: "JISC is delighted to see the launch of the Addressing
> History website. The resource's ability to bring a new richness to the
> geography of Edinburgh's past, thus helping family historians and
> university lecturers and researchers, shows how the Internet can bring
> different groups together to create new forms of knowledge."

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