It’s probably worth starting by summarising what this new JISC-funded project is all about so here’s a summary from the grant application to the JISC eContent Capital Programme:
Place-names are a fundamental concept in all academic collections: everything happens somewhere. Contemporary place-names are comprehensively represented in digital gazetteer and geospatial web services such as GeoNames. However, despite millions of pounds of investment by JISC and other agencies in historical online resources in recent years, there is currently no equivalent for historic place-names. This project will digitize the entire 86 volume corpus of the Survey of English Place-Names (SEPN), the ultimate authority on historic place-names in England, and make its 4 million forms available via the JISC-funded Unlock service, along with vigilantly curated crowd-sourced contributions from the expert community. The content will be published in XML, employing a data model. The platform could thus be generalized to incorporate any other historic digital place-name corpus in the UK or elsewhere, provided it is in digital form, and adheres to appropriate standards.