DECRYPT: Dekryptering av historiska manuskript

Time period: 2018-12-01 to 2024-11-30

Project leader: Beata Megyesi, Beáta Megyesi

Other personnel: Eva Pettersson, Michelle Waldispühl, Alicia Fornes Bisquerra, Arno Wacker, Benedek Láng, Bernhard Esslinger

Funder: Swedish Research Council

Type of award: Research environment

Total fundning: 29 580 000 SEK

Thousands of encrypted manuscripts are found in archives all over Europe, documents that are not yet available for historical research. Examples of such materials are diplomatic and military correspondence and intelligence reports, magical and scientific writings, private letters and diaries, as well as manuscripts related to secret societies.Many scholars and scientists are working on some of these documents in a completely uncoordinated fashion, and from different and complementary areas such as history, linguistics, philology, computer science, and computational linguistics, all with their own point of view, purpose and methods. They encounter the same or similar problems when confronted with encrypted documents. Whereas various algorithms and tools have been developed to decipher the most common forms of encryption, most of these are not suitable to deal with historical, hand-written encrypted documents that don’t use standardized methods, are often hybrid in nature, and are not available in digitized form.The aim of the project is to bring the expertise of the various disciplines together, to digitize, process and decrypt the historical encrypted sources and release these through a web-service with information about their provenance and other facts of relevance, and provide tools for (semi)-automatic decryption. We focus on the development of software tools for automatic analysis allowing users to decrypt various types of encrypted documents from our history on-line.