Contributor Newsletter 1

Hello! This is the first of a regular series of newsletters to keep you up to date with what’s happening on the project. We’ll aim to put a newsletter together once a month for you.

Technical update

We will be trialling the next batch of updates on the test site over the next few weeks – the plan is to release them on the main site in the first week of June.

There will be a number of refinements to the data entry form:
• Re-using internal data (i.e., not just data drawn from external datasets – such as British National Bibliography – but also the data we have entered ourselves). This will be particularly helpful to those of us entering individual diary entries or letters for which we tick the ‘published/as part of’ boxes, as we’ll be able to re-use the publication details we have already entered, instead of retyping them every time.
• Refining the listening/performance environment options. At the moment, some listening and performance environments are mutually exclusive – for example, the form doesn’t allow you to say that an experience is both indoor and outdoor. But several of us have encountered listening experiences that move from one environment to another (processions, or music that starts in the garden and moves into the house, for example). This will be remedied by creating additional buttons that indicate 'Both'.
• Allowing for the 'mobile' listening experience or multiple locations.
• Allowing a specific address to be entered as the location.
• Refining the date range option by adding the ability to specify the duration of an experience.

And beyond the data entry form:
• There will be some updates to the gate-keeping tools, which will include a facility to reconcile duplication.
• We are going to trial a facility to upload scanned images/files, which will give us a repository for documents which we can then distribute to volunteers to enter into the database.

A number of refinements to the search interface are planned. These will be rolled out a few at a time over the next few months, once they’ve been tested and we’re happy with them. (For example, one of our requirements is the ability to be able to search by themes.)

A high priority for the next release after June is the ability to format text in the ‘evidence’ box. This will mean that we will be able to replicate any italics, underlining or bold that the writer has used for emphasis.

LED events – completed and planned

On 3 April, David, Helen and Simon gave a presentation about the project at the OU’s Digital Humanities seminar series. This will be made publically available (i.e., it will be accessible outside the OU) as a podcast, and we will send you the link when we get it. We made some interesting potential contacts in the areas of jazz, pop and optical recognition software, and we’ll keep you posted about any significant developments that transpire from these.

On 19 May, we're holding a research day at the Bishopsgate Institute in London focusing on The Great Diary Project. LED project team members from the Royal College of Music have already identified several diaries within the collection that are suitable for inclusion within LED. To give you an idea of the scope of the collection, there are accounts, ranging from one to 70-plus volumes, by 91 individuals, spanning the years 1735-2013, in over 200 boxes. As of early April, the Bishopsgate Institute is taking possession of a further 2000 items, all of which are yet to be catalogued!

The project team is inviting active contributors to help us identify further sources within the Great Diary Project collection. It will also provide an opportunity to ask questions or receive further training on how to contribute to LED. If you think you might be able to take part or would like further information, please contact Simon Brown ( for details.

On 23 May, we will be running a ‘Wales LED study day’ at the Open University in Wales in Cardiff. The programme will consist of an introduction to the project, a series of short papers, and a closing discussion on ways in which LED might develop in a Welsh context. If you’re anywhere near Cardiff on 23 May, you’re welcome to come along – for the detailed programme and to book a place, go to the events page on the LED website (

Helen and Simon