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The Casebooks Project focuses on the medical records of a pair of English astrologers in the decades around 1600. Simon Forman and Richard Napier conducted 80,000 consultations and produced one of the largest surviving sets of medical records in history.

The project has five main outputs: a dataset representing the contents of the casebooks; a web-based search interface; a viewer for high-resolution images of the manuscripts of the casebooks; explanatory material about the casebooks, the history of astrology and medicine, the project and its editorial conventions and other supporting information; a programme of academic and public engagement to improve the project’s research.

Casebooks engages with questions central to the histories of science and medicine and the social, cultural and intellectual histories of early modern England. As a digital humanities project, it asks:

  1. What does it means to create a new archive out of an old archive?
  2. What is the history of writing practices?
  3. Are we editing what the astrologers wrote or the encounters that their records document?
  4. How can the project help readers navigate and understand the archive?
  5. How can we make a digital archive durable?
  6. How do people read websites? How do people read data? Can we shape these practices?
  7. How do we maintain the texture of the manuscripts while coding them?

About Casebooks

Project website

Project team
Dr Lauren Kassell, Director
Dr Michael Hawkins, Technical Director
Dr Rob Ralley, Senior Editor
Dr John Young, Senior Editor
Joanne Edge, Assistant Editor
Janet Yvonne Martin-Portugues, Assistant Editor
Boyd Brogan, Research Fellow
Natalie Kaoukji, Research Fellow

Wellcome Trust

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

DH Themes
Digital Edition, Data Visualisation, Archive History