Cultural changes in early modern Europe were both accompanied and precipitated by an information revolution, that consisted not only of the spread of more printed material and of new instruments for observation, but also of new models for collecting, archiving, listing, tabulating and mapping information. Recent media historians have enormously expanded our understanding of the production, circulation and marketing of new media, such as newspapers and journals, as well as new tools, such as thermometers, watches and maps, promised access to ‘accurate’ data. 

Preliminary work suggests that much of this filtered down into local chronicles. Chroniclers selected the information of their choice, and structured and framed it as they saw fit, so imposing meaning on events as they occurred. This means that chronicles offer us an opportunity to study not just the consumption of knowledge, but also the engagement with it. The size of the corpus and the manual annotation of the chroniclers’ sources and topographical information will enable me to map the evolving use of media and new instruments as sources of information among non-specialists, both through space and time. I will use computational methods to analyse both text and meta data of our corpus in order to get insight in changes in information flows, knowledge horizons, and regional differences in media use.

Researcher: Alie Lassche