1. Science in ferment
In recent years, science has been caught up in rapid developments. Our knowledge of the environment, human nature and society has grown quickly. Research leads in increasing tempo to new insights, ideas and concepts to correct or refine our views of reality. Underlying this turmoil, characterized by innovation and ever greater scale, are irrepressible advances in information and communication technologies. New techniques and methods continue to appear by which old and new research questions can be approached. The availability of increasingly powerful computers provides today's researchers with possibilities that their predecessors could only have dreamed of. Progress, however, is not evenly distributed. Certain scientific domains are faced with a shortage of material that is up to current ICT requirements. The research field of early modern history (16th - 18th centuries) is one such domain. Although many sources from this period have survived, historians lack adequate data sets by which to carry out comprehensive research into fundamental processes of the time.