Matt Palmer

Matt Palmer

(Nishihata Palmer Ltd)
Programming Consultant

Matt has been involved with George Slater in Domesday-related software from the mid-1980s onwards, beginning with an A level Computer Science project designed to automatically extract statistics from the Domesday text. In the mid 90's, George asked Matt to become directly involved with the Domesday Explorer project, initially only to create the user interface, but later as a full partner in the project, as the true scope of the work became apparent.

George had already created the majority of the intricate data structures used by the Domesday Explorer software, but as ever with Domesday, there is an exception to every rule. Matt and George collaborated in building on this work to create more flexible and reconfigurable structures, as the data continuously underwent enhancement and reorganisation over the course of the project.

Matt went on to build the user interface, the re-configurable data management layers and Boolean search engine of the Domesday Explorer software. He has also built a variety of stand alone data processing utilities to transform and filter the Domesday data for further processing in other software. The partnership between historians and programmers was sometimes difficult, each having to learn the language and thinking of the other, but it brought fresh perspectives to all involved, particularly in the application of computing to inherently imprecise and mutable data structures.

For some of the possibilities of Matt's software, see the Domesday Explorer Help file and Palmer, 'Great Domesday on CD-ROM', in Domesday Book: new directions, edited by Elizabeth M. Hallam and David R. Bates (2001), page 137-48; 211-14.