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Navigating 18th Century Science and Technology: the Board of Longitude

last modified Jun 28, 2013 11:22 AM
A project funded by AHRC based at Cambridge University and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, is studying and analysing the Board of Longitude papers and their significance.
It is well known by all that are acquainted with the Art of Navigation, that nothing is so much wanted and desired at Sea, as the Discovery of the Longitude, for the Safety and Quickness of Voyages, the Preservation of Ships and the Lives of Men" 

An Act for Providing a Publick Reward for such Person or Persons as shall Discover the Longitude at Sea, 1714

The archives of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, held in Cambridge University Library, include the complete run of the papers of the Board of Longitude through the eighteenth century until its abolition in 1828. These papers throw a vivid light on the role of the British state in encouraging invention and discovery, on the energetic culture of technical ingenuity in the long eighteenth century, and on many aspects of exploration and maritime travel in the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic.

A project funded by AHRC based at Cambridge University and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, is studying and analyzing these papers and their significance. For an introduction to the project watch this special video on the history of the Board: and read the project blog: . Digitisation, metadata creation and the production of contextual resources have been funded by JISC - the project blog can be found at:

Simon Schaffer (Principal Investigator, AHRC Board of Longitude Project) and Sophie Waring (Graduate Student, AHRC Board of Longitude Project) introduce the meeting which marks the online release of the complete papers of the Board of Longitude 1714-1828, held at Cambridge University Library. The project has been supported by JISC and forms part of the Cambridge Digital Library. This remarkable digital archive consolidates resources held at Cambridge University Library as well the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, together with detailed metadata and contextual resources to place the material within a rich intellectual framework. Further details on the 18 July event. Further details on the AHRC Board of Longitude Project.

We are a network of researchers at the University of Cambridge who are interested in how the use of digital tools is transforming scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. This transformation spans both the content and practice of humanities research, as the diffusion of digital technologies opens up new fields of study and generates research questions which breach traditional disciplinary boundaries.

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