THIS VOLUME ARISES from a very stimulating and successful conference held at the British Academy in April 2014, entitled ‘Transforming Information: Record Keeping in the Early Modern World’. We are extremely grateful to the British Academy, the Past and Present Society, the Society for Renaissance Studies, the Royal Historical Society, and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge for their generous financial support of this event. At the Academy, we wish to acknowledge Penny Collins, James Rivington, and their colleagues for assisting with the organisation of the conference. The conference attracted delegates from a range of fields and disciplines, as well as a number of archivists and curators. We were particularly glad to include professional record-keepers and archival scientists in the animated and lively conversations provoked by the sessions. In addition to all those who delivered papers and asked questions, we would like to thank Valerie Johnson (the National Archives), Eric Ketelaar (University of Amsterdam), Jesse Sponholz (Washington State University), Adam Smyth (Balliol College, Oxford), and Filippo de Vivo (Birkbeck) for their involvement in the thought-provoking public panel discussion on ‘Archives and Society: Record Keeping in Historical and Contemporary Perspective’ held at the Academy on the first evening of the conference. Simon Ditchfield and Hamish Scott chaired sessions and offered helpful advice and we also wish to acknowledge the encouragement of the late Lisa Jardine.
This volume is the second of two essay collections arising from the British Academy conference. The first was The Social History of the Archive: Record-Keeping in Early Modern Europe, which appeared as a Past & Present Supplement, no. 11 (2016). The current volume includes substantially revised versions of a number of the papers delivered at the conference, together with three additional essays written by Sundar Henny, Brooke Palmieri, and Sylvia Sellers-García. We are grateful to all involved for meeting deadlines promptly, responding effectively and constructively to editorial suggestions, and bearing with us patiently while the volume has been prepared for the press. We wish to acknowledge the Publications Committee for constructive suggestions about the shape of the volume and the eleven colleagues and scholars who have assisted by providing thoughtful independent reports on the essays in this collection. We also thank Eric Ketelaar and Ann Blair for providing the foreword and afterword respectively. Alexandra (p.xii) Walsham and Kate Peters are indebted to Liesbeth Corens for her excellent work in liaising with the contributors and in coordinating the final preparation of this volume.
Liesbeth Corens, Kate Peters, and Alexandra Walsham