Curriculum Vitae

Mostly up to date.

Aberystwyth sunset, 2005

Employment

Digital History Project Manager

August 2006-December 2017, Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield. Projects include The Digital Panopticon, Old Bailey Proceedings Online 1674-1913, London Lives 1690-1800 and Connected Histories 1500-1900

Research Associate

March-August 2013, Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield. Research and writing for online course material for the History Data Management Training project (lead institution: Institute of Historical Research, London).

Developer for Digital History Resources

2011-2013, University of Hertfordshire (casual contract). Ongoing development work on the Old Bailey Online and London Lives projects, including work on site updates and social media communications

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship

October 2003-July 2006, University of Wales Aberystwyth, Dept. of History and Welsh History. Postdoctoral research on crime and violence in seventeenth-century Wales and Cheshire; included undergraduate teaching (early modern crime and first-year introductory courses).

Part-time Tutor

May-July 2003, UWA, Centre for Continuing Education. Teaching a Continuing Education history course on crime in eighteenth-century Wales.

Postgraduate Tutor

September-December 2000, UWA, Dept. of History and Welsh History. Seminar teaching for the department's core second-year undergraduate course on historiography

Digital and Technical Skills

Key skills:

  • Project management
  • Data management, cleaning, conversion, etc
  • Database modelling and design
  • Web development: PHP and MySQL, HTML/CSS, WordPress
  • XML, XQuery/XPath
  • Data analysis with R and Python
  • Writing and editing web content

I first designed and built databases (using Microsoft Access) for my PhD and postdoctoral research. In recent years I've primarily used MySQL for my projects (but I also use more specialised academic applications such as Devonthink). I'm currently improving my skills with R and Python, data visualisation techniques and tools such as D3.js, and NoSQL databases.

I've used the internet extensively as an educational and research tool since the late 1990s, and I have been designing my own websites for almost as long. I began by hand-building static HTML pages, moved on to customising WordPress and wiki sites, and from there to custom-built PHP and MySQL. I've also occasionally dabbled in the likes of Drupal and Mediawiki.

Project management

I've managed a series of successful digitisation and digital history projects at the Digital Humanities Institute, Sheffield since 2006. In addition to day-to-day project management, research and writing academic material and web content, my key role has been to provide a bridge between project academics and programmers, and my skills have evolved accordingly in response to the needs of individual projects and developments in technology.

The Digital Panopticon (2013-2017)

An international record linkage project bringing together c.50 genealogical, biometric and criminal justice datasets from a range of sources in order to explore the impact of different punishments on the lives of 100,000 people sentenced at the Old Bailey between 1780 and 1875. In addition to general project management, I was responsible for taking delivery of data in various formats (XML, spreadsheets, proprietary databases, structured or semi-structured text files, and rekeyed or OCR'd transcriptions), auditing and documenting the data, cleaning and converting it to a suitable format for the project to use.

Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online (2006-08) and London Lives 1690-1800 (2006-10)

Large digitisation projects with three stages: 1. scanning and rekeying of the original sources; 2. Automated and manual markup (in XML) of rekeyed texts; 3. development of the website. Phase 1 was outsourced and I was responsible for monitoring quality control. In phase 2 I worked closely with the programmers who developed the algorithms for automated markup and supervised the team who carried out manual markup. In phase 3 I worked with the website developer on database development, integration of old and new data, and on writing background content.

Connected Histories 1500-1900 (2009-11) and Manuscripts Online 1000-1500 (2011-13)

JISC-funded projects which created "federated search engines" for British history and for medieval manuscript studies respectively. Both involved bringing together and processing very large amounts of data from digital content publishers. I co-ordinated with the publishers to negotiate license agreements, supervised the delivery of data, and worked with the programmers on the indexing and processing of data, including the application of natural language processing.

Crime in the Community: Enhancing User Engagement for Teaching and Research with the Old Bailey Online

A short JISC-funded project (2010-11). Firstly we carried out a user impact analysis to inform the second part of the project, website enhancements to facilitate academic research and teaching. I did research including logfile analysis of website traffic; implementation of an online survey; detailed bibliometric analysis; interviews of academics and focus groups of students. I drafted the analysis report, and wrote new website material.

Locating London's Past: A Geo-Referencing Tool for Mapping Historical and Archaeological Evidence, 1660-1800

Also JISC-funded; the project created a GIS interface to map and visualize textual and artefactual data relating to early modern London against a fully rasterised version of John Rocque's 1746 map of London and a 19th-century OS map. My work on this included preparation of datasets and georeferencing tagged placenames in Old Bailey Online and London Lives.

Digital projects »

Academic Research

Within a broad concern with British social history from c.1550-1850, my research interests concentrate on early modern crime, disputes and violence, women and gender, sexuality and 'the body'. My research has focused primarily on witness narratives in legal records, as valuable sources not only for exploring the experiences and mentalities of early modern people but also for asking questions about authority, order and disorder from localities to the state. My PhD research on crime in early modern Wales focused on the rich criminal court archives of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Denbighshire and my subsequent post-doctoral research expanded on this work to explore violence in north Wales and Cheshire. This research produced conference papers, articles and a monograph.

More recently, my work has led me to focus on eighteenth-century London, including using the records of the Old Bailey and London Lives projects to explore the voices of Old Bailey defendants, arson trials and fraud, petitioners, paupers and bastardy. I have been exploring data mining and visualisation techniques with this data.

Teaching

The focus of my teaching in the past has been small group work. I participated in seminar teaching of departmental undergraduate courses and have taught two modules of my own, one to second-year undergraduates and one course of evening classes for adult learners (formally accredited at first-year undergraduate level). I have supervised and guided second-year students in choosing and researching projects for a 'skills and sources' module focusing on early modern crime.

I have trained project staff in the use of XML markup and tools. I have led workshops and created training resources for using the reference management software Zotero.

Public Engagement and Communications

Writing for the Web

I have written about my research and historical interests for a substantial academic and general audience on a weblog for several years and I use Twitter extensively in both personal and project-related capacities. I co-ordinated two popular history-related blog 'carnivals', which provide showcases of quality blogging for and by academics and non-academic historians alike. I am deeply committed to the use and importance of blogging and social media tools for disseminating historical research to general audiences and creating community support networks for historians.

Selected Writing

Websites

Blogs

Education

PhD, History

1999-2003, University of Wales Aberystwyth, Dept. of History and Welsh History
('Crime, community and authority in early modern Wales: Denbighshire, 1660-1730', pdf)

MA, Women's and Gender History

1998-99, University of York, Dept. of History

BA, History

1995-98, UWA, Dept. of History and Welsh History

Grants and Prizes

  • British Academy post-doctoral fellowship, 2003-06.
  • Arts and Humanities Research Board: Three-year PhD studentship, University of Wales Aberystwyth, 1999-2002.
  • Susan Anderson Memorial Prize in Women's History, University of York, 1999 (MA Dissertation, 'Gender and defamation in York, 1661-1700: reputation, authority and the power of words').
  • AHRB: One-year MA studentship, University of York, 1998-99.

Publications and Papers

Books

  • Law and Disorder in Early Modern Wales, 1660-1730, University of Wales Press: Cardiff, 2008.

Journal articles

  • 'Bloody Code: Reflecting on a decade of the Old Bailey Online and the digital futures of our criminal past', Law, Crime and History 5:1 (2015) (OA journal)
  • 'Abuses of Authority, Local Officers and Communities in Early Modern Denbighshire', Denbighshire Historical Society Transactions 63 (2015), pp. 37–53.
  • 'Servants in early modern Wales: co-operation, conflict and survival', Llafur: the Journal of Welsh People's History, 9 (2005), pp. 33-43.
  • 'Investigating responses to theft in early modern Wales: communities, thieves and the courts', Continuity and Change, 19 (2004), pp. 409-30.
  • 'Imagining the pain and peril of seventeenth‑century childbirth: danger and deliverance in the making of an early modern world', Social History of Medicine, 16 (2003), pp.367-82.
  • 'Riotous community: crowds, politics and society in Wales, c.1700-1840', Welsh History Review, 20 (2001), pp. 656-86.

Reports, reviews and other publications

Publications archive »

Selected conference papers and presentations

  • Defendants’ voices and silences in the Old Bailey courtroom, 1781-1880, Digital Panopticon launch conference, Liverpool, September 2017
  • Settlement and Removal: Poor Relief and Exclusion in 18th-century London, Cultures of Exclusion, Warwick, May 2017
  • London Lives Petitions Project: Remixing and Remaking Digital Histories, Digital Humanities Congress, Sheffield, September 2016
  • What can you do with 10,000 petitions? (web presentation of talk) Addressing Authority: Petitions and Supplications in Early Modern Europe (London, March 2016)
  • 'The Digital Panopticon', Transforming research through Digital Scholarship, British Library, November 2013 (slides)
  • 'Bloody Code: reflecting on a decade of Old Bailey Online and the digital future of our criminal past', Our Criminal Past: Digitisation, Social Media and Crime History AHRC Network Event, London Metropolitan Archives, May 2013.
  • 'Unmarried mothers in eighteenth-century London', North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS), Louisville, November 2009.
  • 'Making lives digital: the challenge of creating Plebeian Lives', British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies annual conference, Oxford, January 2009.
  • 'Internet sources for local population history: the Old Bailey Proceedings and Plebeian Lives', Local Population Studies Society Conference, Sheffield, November 2008.
  • 'Digital History 2.0? Collaboration, community and interactivity in the digitisation of history', The Metropolis on Trial, Open University, July 2008.
  • 'Gentlemen and interpersonal violence in seventeenth-century Britain', Icons and Iconoclasts: The Long Seventeenth Century, 1603 to 1714, Aberdeen, July 2006.
  • '"Common quarrellers" and disputing neighbours: everyday violence in its local contexts in seventeenth-century southern Britain', Assaulting the Past: Placing Violence in Historical Context, University of Oxford, July 2005.
  • 'Abuses of authority? Local communities, law officers and the courts in north-east Wales, c.1660-1720'. Themes in the History of Crime, Justice and Policing in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Britain, Open University, March 2005.
  • 'Maidservants in the court records of early modern Wales: co-operation, conflict and survival'. Re-Presenting the British Past: Women, Gender and History in the British Isles, University of Glamorgan, April 2004.
  • ' "Furiously attached to the Stuart interest": the politics of religion in Wrexham, c.1660-1730'. Understanding Urban Wales, University of Wales Swansea, September 2003.
  • 'Communities policing "criminal" bodies in early modern Wales'. Controlling Bodies: The Regulation of Conduct 1650-2000, University of Glamorgan, June 2002.
  • 'Early modern criminal law in practice: murder and manslaughter in seventeenth-century Denbighshire'. Fifteenth British Legal History Conference, Aberystwyth, July 2001.