Overstating the collapse of carpet-weaving in Kidderminster.

I heard a good talk yesterday on a project to digitise and display National Archives data on trademarked designs. The effect was rather spoilt by the presenter showing a congratulatory email he had received.

How can one overstate the collapse of carpet-weaving in Kidderminster? and,
more seriously, does it matter?

Looking at other projects by the King’s College Department of Digital Humanities, I find myself wondering how much these specialised areas of research really matter.

I have to confess though I was intrigued by Six degrees of Francis Bacon, a site which charts relationships between Elizabethan and Stuart figures. You can use it freely on-line to inspect, for example, Marlowe’s links with Walsingham and his men, or to demonstrate the George Fox had no known connections with the Fifth Monarchy men. Both subjects which interest me.

But it shows the limits of social network analysis when it includes a link for Martin Marprelate, which in turn links to Roger Penry and Job Throckmorton.

Martin Marprelate was an alias: both Penry and Throckmorton have been suggested as the real person behind the name, as well as others who do not appear on the graph. But the SNA graph just shows them as flat individuals with no suggestion that one or more links might have been unusual, or that one of them was not a person at all.

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