Nicholas Cole

Nicholas Cole

Welcome to my homepage. If you are here, it is almost certainly because you want to be somewhere else.

I am a British historian of American legal history and political thought. I am the director of The Quill Project, a research centre at Pembroke College, University of Oxford.

The Quill Project studies the process that has negotiated key treaties, constitutions, and legislation over the last 300 years. More generally, I study the history of political and constitutional thought, as well as the evolution of institutional structures. A key area of my research concerns building tools that help humanists to make more accurate and better-informed qualitative judgements even as the amount of writing (in terms of both 'primary' and 'secondary' material) to which they have access (except in the narrowest of fields) continues to grow well beyond the capacity of any individual to fully master. For this reason, I am as likely to spend my time working on the representation, analysis and retrieval of data as I am on the more traditional activities of a historian.

I was a member of the technical council for the Text Incoding Initiative (2019-20), and you can find various profile pages for me at Pembroke College, the Oxford University History Faculty, Digital Humanities @ Oxford, The Rothermere American Institute, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, The Oxford Centre for Intellectual History, and (no doubt) in other places. You might be interested in my ORCiD list of publications. Some of these pages are easier for me to update than others; which ones are more or less useful is left as an exercise for the reader.

I occasionally post on Twitter (as '@quilldir'), and sometimes write longer pieces on my 'Taking the Longer View' blog.

From time to time, I write or maintain pieces of open source software. The most widely used of these is npyscreen, but you will find additional projects at GitHub (which I use just because 'everyone' does) or Codebase (to which I am migrating projects now that Bitbucket have dropped support for Mercurial).

I have been using the internet long enough to have a stance on some of the old controversies.

Please use my university email address to contact me.