The Constitution of the United States was written between May and September 1787 by a group of delegates working in secret and in a highly formal process. The records of that process include an official journal and a series of private diaries, all of which present significant challenges for general readers and researchers. Chief among these is the difficulty of understanding and describing the particular context within which decisions were made.
The Quill Project provides an entirely new platform for the study of negotiated texts. The platform is designed to make it easier to understand the contexts in which decisions are made, the relationship between documents, and the influence of individuals and delegations within a formal process of negotiation.
This talk will explore the challenges of designing a platform such as this with a wide variety of users in mind, and the opportunities for research and collaboration that are created through taking a new approach to the study of these records.