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Digital Resources for the Eighteenth Century


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A discussion on some of the digital resources available for scholars of eighteenth-century studies.

A discussion on some of the digital resources available for scholars of eighteenth-century studies.

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  • 1. Digital Resources for the Eighteenth Century The Role of JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) Alastair Dunning JISC Digitisation Programme Manager, a.dunning AT, 0203 006 6065 The British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Conference, 7 th January 2009
  • 2. What JISC does in general
    • Provides Technical Infrastructure
    • Runs services, provides data, offers advice
    • Funds innovative projects
    • Provides rapid email and Internet access
    • Gives answers to ICT questions and needs either via computers or humans
    • Allows you to explore new ideas
    Supported via HEFCE and other funding councils with top-sliced funding.
  • 3. JISC Collections
    • Negotiates with publishers to get cheaper access to their resources
      • Eg. ECCO, Burney Newspapers
    • Consults library community to get feedback
    • If you want access to a resource, and don’t have it – bug your librarian
    Perfume Advert, William Roberts, perfumer, at the Civet Cat , 1742. All images from John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera.
  • 4. JISC Digitisation
    • Provides funding to HE sector (and sometimes beyond) to digitise and enhance key resources
    • 52 projects funded since 2004, £24m
    • http:// /digitisation
    • Some resources delivered freely; others at cost in conjunction with publishers
    Perruquier barbier , perruques  , date unknown
  • 5. JISC Digitisation
    • 18 th -Century Parliamentary Papers (Southampton University , ProQuest)
    • British Newspapers (British Library, Cengage Gale)
    • John Johnson Collection (Oxford University, Pro Quest)
    • Marandet Plays (Warwick University)*
    • Enlightening Science: Newton Project (Sussex University)*
    • St Kitts-Nevis Digital Archaeology (Southampton University, Thomas Jefferson Foundation )*
    • Welsh Ballads (Cardiff University)*
    • * - Online Autumn 2009
    A perspective view of the Grand Walk in Vauxhall Gardens, and the orchestra ,1765
  • 6. Key Issues – Finding Stuff
    • Collections dispersed on Internet – resources difficult to find, little cross-searching capability, redundant searches
    • Armadillo project (Sheffield. Uni.) attempted to bring 18 th -century content together
    • Is it worth the technical hassle to bring all the dispersed content together?
    The Hay Market , date unknown
  • 7. Key Issues – Special Collections
    • What lies uncatalogued and unavailable in UK libraries and archives?
    • How do we prioritise digitisation?
      • Complete runs? Condition of material? Potential research impact? Commercial value? Use in teaching? Space?
    • DiscMap project at University of Strathclyde undertaking research
    • Or should we improve existing resources?
    A pair of polished gentlemen , James Gillray, 1801
  • 8. Key Issues – Impact (I)
    • Many news sources of evidence becoming available
      • Usual slow drip of sources becomes a deluge
    • Possible changes in research
      • Retiring scholars see their work cast aside – or maybe reaffirmed?
      • Doctoral students have a whole new landscape to explore
      • Previously aesthetic readings become more historicist
      • Need to refine questions because of greater amount of evidence
      • Will there be a increased need for sampling? Will macro-history become easier?
      • Study of language emphasised; linguistic interpretations to the fore?
      • Opening entire corpora up for large-scale analysis
    • Add all these changes together, and what will happen?
  • 9. Key Issues – Impact (II)
    • How can this change be measured?
    • How is the value of 18 th -century content compared to other epochs?
    • Digitised Resources Impact Study – Oxford University
    • Will give clues to what material to digitise in future
      • How are images used?
      • Better to digitise specialist collections in depth or broad collections more superficially
    Barber , date unknown