Darwin’s life in letters

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge has an extensive collection of letters to and from Charles Darwin and works with other institutions to further understand Darwin’s life, the discoveries he made and the scientific network he was part of. We synthesised the University branding with the publishing conventions of the Darwin Correspondence Project and applied them to a standardised Drupal framework that was being rolled out across the University. We helped the editors audit and transition their content from both printed and online forms and finally integrated the site with the Cambridge University Digital Library’s XTF database of letters, transcripts, footnotes and commentary.

Since launching the website we have continued to work with the Darwin Correspondence team to further enhance the site. Additional functionality includes an interactive timeline for adults, a pictorial timeline for children and downloadable education resource packs. Surface Impression has delivered quarterly Google Analytics reports for the project since it’s launch. Insights revealing unexpected user behaviour patterns led us to make incremental adjustments to page layouts, which in turn have produced significant results in terms of audience engagement levels.