Gustav's Hand: Digitisation, Digital Enhancement, and Dissemination of the Gustavian Collection
By testamentary disposition, the private archive of King Gustav III (1746–1792) – comprising his correspondence and manuscripts on a number of subjects – was left in the care of Uppsala University Library (UUL) upon his death. This collection is essential for Swedish and international research concerning the eighteenth century, and researchers have used it for studies of the period’s political, social, and cultural life for centuries. This unique collection has put Uppsala on the map of eighteenth-century studies. Therefore, it is most unfortunate that UUL has deemed it necessary to block the originals from all use. Years of use have exacted a toll, and further use entails an immediate risk of the loss of invaluable texts. The project will rectify this situation and boost scholarship based on the collection, achieving this by four means: 1) the physical manuscripts will be conserved and digitised, and thus be made more available for sustainable use; 2) handwritten text recognition (HTR) will make principal parts of the collection searchable as text and thus vastly improve their accessibility; 3) research on the digitised material will be initiated, with the material’s searchability allowing new and large-scale research questions to be posed (e.g., through text mining), and research opportunities will be offered to junior scholars during the project; and 4) the collection will be disseminated in cultural heritage contexts through social media, programme activities, etc.