Transformation of the Quill

The Quill project aims to become the definitive source available for the study of the origins of the text of the Constitution of the United States and, subsequently, state constitutions. It will transform access to the founding documents of American constitutional law, by making available to a wider audience newly accurate and useful versions of the records of the Constitution’s creation. The project will promote a new approach to the study of foundational, negotiated, legal texts and establish a software platform, Quill, that will have a significance for the study of a wide range of records. It will enable a detailed study of the process of negotiation, debate and compromise that formed the Constitution.

The first phase involved designing and writing a new database system that models committee work. The platform has been written to cope with all of the problems presented by the specific manuscript material relating to 1787, but is intended to have wider applications, and in that sense is intended as a generalised tool for the study of all formally negotiated documents of this character.

The project development was supported by Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman, Oxford e-Research Centre.

Nicholas-Cole“Discussions are underway with Oxford University Innovation relating to the options for commercialisation of the platform and its various applications.

This work is intended to support continued research of historical content and value, and to widen the impact of the original research.”

– Dr Nicholas Cole, Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford

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