Representing and Exploring Negotiated Texts: Quill Platform Workshop

Book tickets!The structure of decision making at the Constitutional Convention


What: Representing and Exploring Negotiated Texts: Quill Platform Workshop

Who: Nicholas Cole, Alfie Abdul-Rahman, and Grace Mallon

When: 13.30 – 16.30, Wednesday 25 January 2017

Where: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

Quill ( is a platform for the study of negotiated texts, developed by Dr Nicholas Cole (Pembroke College) and Alfie Abdul-Rahman (Oxford e-Research Centre). We focus especially on the creation of constitutions, treaties, and legislation.

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. It also allows for more detailed, collaboratively written, commentaries and other supporting material to be presented to users, as appropriate for a range of research, teaching, and public-engagement tasks.  There is a strong emphasis throughout the platform on ways to interface with material presented by other digital platforms.

Quill was originally conceived to assist research in to the documentary history of the 1787 Constitutional Convention in America by presenting researchers with a reconstruction of the documents available to the members of the convention at every single moment of a complicated, four-month-long process, but developed in to a generic platform that can assist with the understanding of any formal process that involves presenting, considering, and voting on changes to a document.

This half-day workshop will guide participants through the range of tools that the Quill platform provides, including the data-entry interfaces.  Users who might wish to bring their own datasets are requested to contact in advance to discuss the suitability of their material for the Quill platform.  Otherwise, the workshop will use records provided by the U.N. on the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( to guide users through the process of using the editorial and data-entry tools provided by the Quill Platform.

This workshop is aimed at those whose research involved the study of parliamentary or quasi-parliamentary processes and the records that they produce.  It will be an opportunity to discuss the design of the platform and the ways in which it could be used for future research projects.


      • To provide participants with experience using the Quill tools for exploring existing datasets.
      • To give participants an overview of and some experience with the Quill data-entry methodology and tools.
      • To help participants understand the kinds of dataset for which the Quill platform is useful and an opportunity to discuss with them potential future uses.

Participants are requested to bring a laptop to use during the workshop. If you do not have access to a laptop, please let us know beforehand.

This workshop is organized by:

  • Dr Nicholas Cole is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, and a member of the History Faculty. 
  • Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman is a Research Associate at the Oxford e-Research Centre.
  • Grace Mallon is a graduate student at University College, University of Oxford.

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