Mashup of Online Resources:

Engineering Historical Memory (since 2007)

Dr Andrea Nanetti first theorized Engineering Historical Memory (EHM) as a Visiting Scholar at Princeton University in 2007. EHM is an ongoing research project that aims to develop and experiment aggregation apps for the (re)organisation and delivery of global historical knowledge in the digital age. EHM uses pre-modern Afro-Eurasia (1205-1533) as a case study for interactive global histories. Currently Dr Nanetti runs EHM in LIBER (Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Bookish and Experimental Research), which is a laboratory that he established at the School of Art, Design and Media of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU-ADM) in January 2019, and since then he is its Director. At NTU Singapore the laboratory is run in collaboration with the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (NTU-SPMS), the School of Computer Science and Engineering (NTU-SCSE). For more information (in English), on the research project in which this digital exploration was born, reference can be made to an article published online on NTU Singapore Pushing Frontiers Magazine. The project was reviewed on the Microsoft Research Blog “because of its unique and successful interdisciplinary collaboration” (Winnie Cui), and on PLOS for its open-society and non-commercial perspective.

The current focus of the project is to develop and test tools (technologies and processes) that can be readily adopted by all users to visualize high volumes of data through maps, timelines, tag clouds, and/or interconnected graphs on different scales. The aim is to overcome the linguistic and cultural obstacles of historical research in a transcultural (re)reading of primary sources and secondary literature for the pre-modern history of Afro-Eurasia (1205-1533). Together, the results of these research practices provide tools and solutions to facilitate, in the study of historical big data, the transition from top-down approaches (based on the application of theories) to modelling based on agents and mathematical and algorithmic simulations directly related to the data of primary sources. This approach provides scholars with visualisations of multilingual and multimodal databases of primary sources and secondary literature to more quickly and more thoroughly penetrate the fundamentals of previously accumulated knowledge of places, people, things, and events in the historical landscape. The project shows how historiographies and cartographies developed by different cultures in various languages can together shed light on the Afro-Eurasian continent, its people, their interactions along intercontinental communication networks by sea and by land, as they were first identified by the German geographer Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen (1833-1905) in his magnum opus China (1877-1912).