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In the decades around 1600 a pair of English astrologers recorded 80,000 consultations, and their notebooks form one of the largest surviving sets of private medical records in history. The Casebooks Project team has spent a decade transforming this paper archive into a digital archive, and the resulting analysis has changed how  we understand the histories of medical encounters and bodily experiences, writing practices, and everyday life. It also informs our understanding of today’s concerns: just as new paper technologies led doctors to begin to record series of cases 500 years ago, so digital technologies – from digital medical records to health apps – are changing how medical professionals and their patients think about data and narrative. Casebooks has produced a web-based interface that allows readers to search and read the cases and to situate any given case or person within the corpus as a whole. The underlying, future-proof dataset can be downloaded and all 15,000 pages of the original manuscripts, held in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, can be viewed through an image archive. The website contains critical information about the astrologer-physicians, their patients, the history of astrological medicine and life in early modern England, together with material about how to use the casebooks for teaching and research.


For more information about the project, click here.