It’s been nearly ten years since the launch of Eighteenth Century Collections Online [ECCO]. This ambitious project aimed to digitise “every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in Great Britain during the eighteenth century, along with thousands of important works from the Americas.” The definition of a ‘significant’ text remains open to interpretation, but the contents of the archive are undeniably impressive – in its present form it contains more than 180,000 titles. The unparalleled breadth of its coverage – along with the number of university libraries that took up subscriptions – quickly established it as a key focal point for the researching and teaching of eighteenth-century history.In other words, it’s a tough act to follow.
Enter Nineteenth Century Collections Online [NCCO]. This recently launched project follows in the footsteps of its eighteenth-century predecessor and, in the words of its publisher Gale Cengage, aims to be “the most ambitious scholarly digitisation and publication program ever undertaken.” The archive will contain millions of pages of nineteenth-century books, periodicals, diaries, letters, manuscripts, photographs, government records, pamphlets, and maps. More interestingly, it promises researchers the opportunity to subject these sources to some interesting new forms of qualitative and quantitative analysis. I’ve spent the last few days playing […]