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New: Founding Era Biographies - need help

A year ago, Documents Compass received a grant from the Andrew W.
Mellon Foundation to explore the creation of a biographical and
prosopographical resource for scholars of the American Founding. We
have named this publication People of the Founding Era (PFE). Created
by mining data from the existing documentary editions of the past
half-century, we have inaugurated the project by working with the
Papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin
Rush and the Dolley Madison Digital Edition.

We are asking you to participate in a short survey, responding to
several questions that will allow us to determine whether the project
will be sustainable.

Rotunda, the Electronic Imprint of the University of Virginia Press,
has agreed to publish PFE in coordination with its American Founding
Era Collection. We believe it will be an important and exciting

PFE has two parts: biographical and prosopographical. The biographical
section is a compilation of the narratives created by the editors of
the Founding Editions as part of their annotations. The population of
PFE will include those born between 1713 and 1815. Our strategy is to
aggregate the biographical statements rather than merge (and rewrite)

The prosopographical section is a highly structured tagged data set
that enables users to search through the population for common
characteristics, such as place of birth or nationality. As the
population of PFE grows, the user's ability to analyze the data will
expand. You may request hypothetical screen shots for additional

PFE will include as broad a swath of people as possible . We have
already collected over 12,000, and intend to include ordinary people
such as small farmers, wives and children, slaves, artisans, and
Indians. We anticipate harvesting from 20,000-30,000 by completion of
the next phase. We are excited by this large number, which compares
with the 4,000 people from this time period included in American
National Biography.

This will be a critical tool for readers of the Founding Editions
online, and a scholarly and critical publication in its own right. When
the Press sent our proposal for peer review, PFE received very positive
responses, including(with permission from the authors):

"The broad database and flexibility of the PFE has unlimited potential
for scholarly analysis." And, ". . .The scope and breadth of the PFE
make it almost universally applicable to every institution and archive,
especially ones with heavy genealogical traffic. "

Please assist us by taking our short survey, located at the following

Or contact me directly by email: ss5nq@virginia.edu
We appreciate your assistance as we carry this work forward.
Susan Severtson
Documents Compass      www.documentscompass.org

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