Print Networks is delighted to announce the 2019 winner of the Peter Isaac prize for the best essay in the field of the History of the Book Trade in the Anglophone world.
This year the award goes to Yann Ryan who is a current PhD student, supervised by Professor Joad Raymond, in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London. He is working at the intersection of data science and humanities and writing on early modern news, networks of communication and print culture. He is currently the Curator of Data for the British Library's Newspaper Digitisation Project, working on creative ways to present nineteenth-century newspaper datasets to researchers and the public.
Yann’s award-winning essay uses case studies of readers and data analysis to explore questions of perspective and virality in early modern printed news. Using data collected from seventeenth century newsbooks, it argues that viewing the news network as a series of connected, nebulous communities brings us closer to understanding the prismatic nature of European news information communities, and that a synthesis of individual perspectives and a 'bird's-eye view' are the best way to understand the reality of how news was distributed, read and understood. The essay shows that the network on which news travelled was an example of a particular mathematical type which relies on a small number of important connections to hold the whole structure together. These networks have particular properties which encourage the viral spread of information, and their research helps to further our understanding of the extraordinary growth and scope of news dissemination in the seventeenth-century.
Yann wins £200 plus free entry (including conference fee, food, accommodation and contribution towards travel) to the Print Networks conference to be held in Liverpool in July 2019.
The winning article will also be published in the journal Publishing History.