Contents of this article
The Board of Longitude project makes available 68 volumes of papers recording the activity of this important public institution for the period 1714-1828. The Board was established by the 1714 Longitude Act to judge proposals for determining longitude at sea and to fund the most promising ideas.
The collection also includes the papers of Neville Maskelyne (Astronomer Royal, 1765-1811) and John Pond (Astronomer Royal, 1811-35), as well as material from the National Maritime Museum. The site has also published a number of useful contextual essays.
Strengths and weaknesses
The papers of the Board of Longitude offer a fascinating insight into the role of the British state in encouraging invention and discovery, into the history of science and technology, and into the history of exploration and maritime travel. Volumes are easily browsable by clicking from page to page or using a thumbnail view. However, the volumes are not searchable, and transcriptions are available for only a subset of pages.
High-resolution colour images are available for all pages of the 68 bound volumes. Detailed metadata is provided at the volume level, and some pages have been transcribed.
About the project
The project is a partnership between Cambridge University Library, the National Maritime Museum and the AHRC-funded Board of Longitude Project. Digitisation of material in the collection was also funded by Jisc.