There are two large Board of Longitude projects based at Cambridge: a five-year AHRC-funded project to research and write the history of the Board, led by the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) and the National Maritime Museum (NMM); and this 21-month JISC-funded project (November 2011-July 2013) to digitise the Board's archive. The JISC project is led by the University Library and includes HPS and NMM as partners, so the two projects are very closely linked.
The Board of Longitude was set up by the British government to encourage the submission of ideas, instruments and data that would help solve the navigational problem of finding longitude at sea. As a result it helped to realise two solutions: the lunar distance method, and the timekeeping method pioneered by John Harrison. In its 114 years of existence, however, the Board also judged and supported a much wider range of projects relating to the improvement of navigation. The Archive charts the development of science and technology through the eighteenth century, captures the concerns and politics of its time, and charts the expansion of the British Empire through the great voyages of discovery, acquisition and trade.
The JISC project will build a substantial digital collection (comprising some 65,000 pages of content), consolidating resources held at Cambridge University Library and the National Maritime Museum, and will generate detailed metadata and contextual resources to place the material within a rich intellectual framework. Resources will be created to link the collection to the school curriculum and incorporate it within an exciting programme of exhibitions and public engagement being undertaken by the National Maritime Museum in 2014. Delivery will be via the University Library's Digital Library platform.