Tuesday 12 December 2017 – Lisa Smith – Chance encounters with the past: crowdsourcing early modern recipes

Venue: John S Cohen Room, N203

Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

Download a map of the central precinct with directions for getting to the University of London Senate House.


Why bother transcribing all those documents?’, asked a computer scientist I recently met: ‘Why don’t you automate it?’ The challenges of early modern handwriting, notwithstanding, there are many good reasons why transcription of old documents is a useful pedagogical exercise and a wonderful method of public engagement. For this talk, I will draw on the Talk boards of Shakespeare’s World (a crowdsourcing transcription project), student comments on teaching blogs and teaching evaluations, and my experience of teaching recipe transcription. I will consider the ways in which online transcription develops close-reading and encourages new ways of engaging with the past.


Dr. Lisa Smith is a Lecturer at the University of Essex, where she teaches early modern history of medicine and gender. In addition to publishing widely on health and the household in eighteenth-century England and France, she is the PI on the Sloane Letters Project, co-founder of the Early Modern Recipes Online Collective, and co-founder and co-editor of The Recipe

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