SKILLNET – Sharing Knowledge in Learned and Literary Networks


The SKILLNET project conducts research into the social functioning of the early modern community of learned men and women. We work on the conceptual history of this so-called ‘Republic of Letters’, but we also study the networks of the letters that early modern scholars exchanged with one another. We research several types of links between these people in qualitative ways, but we also experiment with quantitative analyses of the way in which scholars interacted. In doing so, it often proves useful to visualise chunks of these epistolary networks. This page is devoted to such visualisations.

These networks of letters often reveal a great deal about the actual social networks maintained by scholars in Europe in the period 1500-1800. On this page, we regularly provide new visualisations of parts of the letter-networks, because we think that visualisations, if we use them with a clear question in mind, can be useful for understanding these networks. They do not pretend to be complete.

To visualise and manipulate the data select a letter collection from the menu in the upper left corner. The visualisations are created with Nodegoat. For full-screen visualisations go to