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ProQuest, University of Michigan Library and Bodleian Libraries Provide 25,000 Early Modern Books as Open Access Text
ANN ARBOR, MI, January 27, 2015 – The full text of more than 25,000 titles from the acclaimed ProQuest resource Early English Books Online (EEBO) are now openly available on the websites of the University of Michigan Library and the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford. The new open access titles are the result of work of the Text Creation Partnership (TCP), a longstanding effort to transcribe early modern print books, creating standardized, accurate XML/SGML encoded electronic text editions. Through funding from ProQuest, Jisc and a collective of libraries, these text files are jointly owned by more than 150 libraries worldwide, creating a significant database of foundational scholarship.
“This is a significant milestone for TCP and we’re very excited for this slice of EEBO to be available to anyone with an interest in the Early Modern era,” said Susan Bokern, ProQuest vice president, Information Solutions. “Broad access is what ProQuest founder Eugene Power envisioned more than 70 years ago when he worked with the British libraries to microfilm these rare, important works. The ongoing work of the TCP is a great benefit for EEBO users. Access to the transcribed, native-language full text alongside images and bibliographic detail drives improved research outcomes.”
“Jisc is proud of the financial support it has provided to the Text Creation Partnership over a number of years. We look forward to the open access transcriptions being used to support new research efforts across the digital humanities, beyond even those that have been made possible by the availability of early English books online, said Lorraine Estelle, executive director digital resources and divisional CEO Jisc Collections. “The release of this material is not only a boost to the availability of research data, but a welcome contribution to Jisc’s work in support of open access across the disciplines.”
From the first book published in English in 1473 through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and on through works produced in 1699, EEBO’s incomparable collection contains more than 130,000 books that have been digitized, with fully searchable images of each page — many include beautiful artwork and marginalia. The images, along with enhanced meta data added by ProQuest experts, fulfill even the most exhaustive research requirements of graduate scholars in subject areas as diverse as English literature, history, philosophy, linguistics, theology, music, fine arts, education, mathematics, and science.
See page images from EEBO here: http://bit.ly/EEBOImages.
TCP’s encoding allows users to search the full ASCII text of 25,000 EEBO documents. Libraries that have EEBO in their collections can seamlessly move between the ASCII text transcriptions and the corresponding original page images in the ProQuest interface. ProQuest’s expert digitization and indexing amplifies the benefit of the full ASCII text from TCP, enabling precision searching — made possible through tools that address variant spellings and word forms — and delivery of exceptionally crisp page images.
TCP has been an ongoing effort. An additional 28,000 titles have been transcribed by the University of Michigan as part of Phase 2 — called TCP-II — and are available to TCP partner libraries. Phase 2 will be completed by June 30, 2015. EEBO customers may purchase access to these texts as they did for TCP-I. New customers can purchase TCP-II from ProQuest beginning July 1, 2015. They will become open-access works in January 2021.
EEBO is part of ProQuest’s larger initiative to create a fully searchable, digital survey of books produced after the birth of printing, preserving rare, fragile works for future generations. Begun with English-language titles from the Pollard & Redgrave and Wing short title catalogues, ProQuest has expanded the project to include multiple languages, working with major libraries throughout Europe including the Det Kongelige Bibliotek (The Royal Library, Copenhagen), Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze in Italy, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Nationale bibliotheek van Nederland, Den Haag (National Library of the Netherlands), the Wellcome Library in London and Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.
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