Dr Bob Nicholson's Research Blog|bob.nicholson@edgehill.ac.uk
6 06, 2012

First Look: Nineteenth Century Collections Online

By |June 6th, 2012|blog, Digitisation|1 Comment|

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 […]

2 06, 2012

It’s alive!

By |June 2nd, 2012|blog, History, Journal Articles|0 Comments|

In Mary Shelley’s version of the story, Victor Frankenstein locks himself in a laboratory for two years in order to pursue his scientific research. He is driven by an insatiable appetite for discovery, but when he finally witnesses the results of his labours he is filled with an overpowering sense of dread:
“I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room…”
I was reminded of this passage a few weeks ago on the morning of my PhD viva. It had been more than a month since I had last read my thesis, but in preparation for the big event I plucked up the courage to have a final look. It was a mistake. Every page seemed to bring a fresh disaster; a grammatical error here, a missing footnote there, and so many sentences that I longed to rewrite. Three and a half years earlier I had set out to create something beautiful. Now, as I looked upon it with fresh eyes, I saw only a […]