About

This weblog was created by Anna Battigelli (SUNY Plattsburgh) and Eleanor Shevlin (West Chester University of Pennsylvania) to facilitate scholarly feedback and discussion pertaining to valuable online text-bases for the humanities, such as EEBO, ECCO, and the Burney Collection.  Of particular interest are bibliographical problems encountered while using these text-bases. Also of interest are the consequences new digital tools present for the humanities, specifically their impact on teaching and research in the field of early modern studies.

Posting is often choral, with several posts active simultaneously.  In addition to commenting on posts, readers are invited to recommend links, suggest topics for discussion, and write posts by e-mailing a dot battigelli at att dot net.

12 Responses to “About”

  1. Vincent Carey Says:

    This is a most worthwhile project and has enormous potential. Thank you to the organisers!

  2. Christine Ford Says:

    Hi Dr Batigelli. very interesting post about the literary letters at Stanford. I am a past student of yours. I was in your John Milton class back in 92 or 93. I’m now an editor in NYC. Back in 2000 I had a graduate assistantship in the Pace University Press and worked with an excellent professor named Martha Driver. She is an expert in medieval literature and women in medieval literature, and has produced a number of scholarly publications. I think if you ever met you’d get along very well. She reminded me very much of you. Here’s a link to her page at Pace. I haven’t spoken to her in a few years, but I just wanted to put her on your radar in case you are ever looking for someone to collaborate with. http://www.pace.edu/page.cfm?doc_id=27996

  3. Sayre Greenfield Says:

    This is a general posting to the list for anyone who has access to ECCO. Something peculiar has happened in my searches on ECCO recently: the results are not what they used to be. Indeed, the results on any search are one-half to one-sixth of what they used to be. To give an example from my research on quotations of Hamlet, on Feb. 17th, 2010, I searched in the “entire text” mode for rotten N4 state for 1701-1750 (all boxes including texts with no date were checked) and received 54 ECCO hits, some of which I recorded because they were of interest to me. So today, Feb. 28th, I did the exact same search and received only 20 ECCO hits for that period (and only 76 hits for the entire 1701-1800 database). I checked through the particular 20 ECCO results for 1701-1750 and noted that two of the 8 specific texts I had recorded from the Feb. 17th search were now missing: The London Magazine and monthly chronologer, for 1736-1746, and A letter to a member of this new Parliament, from a true lover of the liberties of the people, from 1742. Nor, when I searched for these titles in a separate title search, did I get these volumes: “London magazine” searched for 1701-1750 (in “title” mode) received 0 hits, and, while “new Parliament” for 1701-1750 received 16 hits, that “Letter to a member” recorded earlier was not among the results.

    It is as if these particular texts have vanished from the database. I do not know if it is significant that both texts are without authors: I think not, as other texts of that nature did appear, and on other searches even the number of texts by Shakespeare seem to have diminished.

    In fact, every search I have done now gets far fewer results than before. Last September, when running a test for antic* disposition I received 24 texts; now I get 4. I used to get 66 texts for prophetick soul (the preferred 18th-century spelling), and now I get 18 texts. For a broader view of the problem, I went back to data from that EC/ASECS presidential address I gave in 2006 about ECCO: in doing the research for this, I put in dates for each decade of the early 18th century with no words at all in the search box to see how many texts were in each decade. That search does not now get the same results either. That number should have grown because of the addition of ECCO II to ECCO, but it has shrunk. 1701-1710 (and nothing put into the search boxes) got me 10438 hits then; now it gets 6557 hits. 1711-1720 got 11776 hits in August 2006; now it receives 6164 hits.

    Is this a problem with the University of Pittsburgh interface (which does sometimes give me trouble) or is the problem with ECCO itself? Someone can solve that mystery for me by running, say, the rotten N4 state search pattern and seeing if the results are 54 or 20. Thanks for your help.

    –Sayre Greenfield
    Professor of English
    University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

    • Scott Dawson Says:

      Gale did do a release of the ECCO database late last week to add the Library of Congress subject headings (and ability to search them) and the fully expanded title fields. We will look into what this release may have inadvertently done to the indexing to cause such a change in results that are returned, which seems to be related to the date field. I’ll get back with details as soon as I can. If others experience similar issues, please let me know.

      Scott Dawson
      Product Manager – Gale Digital Collections
      Gale
      scott.dawson@cengage.com

  4. Anna Battigelli Says:

    Thanks, Scott. I hope others looking at ECCO and experiencing results similar to Sayre’s will report them both to Scott and back here so that we can have a sense of how this new release affects searches. AB

  5. Scott Dawson Says:

    We have discovered the problem which does in fact deal with any/all date searching within ECCO. We know of one method for fixing it, but are looking for one that is quicker to implement. If we need to go with a fix that will take 14-20 days to take affect (due to reloading all of the records), we will roll back the previous version of the system. That, however, would take away some of the new features we just added. I hope to give you a final answer by next Monday.

    Scott Dawson
    Product Manager
    ECCO

  6. Scott Dawson Says:

    The issue with date searching in ECCO has been fixed in a more timely manner than previously anticipated and has been released so you should no longer encounter that issue. One exception are items with no dates (~37 items) are being picked up in a date range search even when you do not check the box. We will continue to work on that issue but wanted to get the primary issue addressed as quickly as possible. Again, sorry for the inconvenience.

    Scott Dawson
    Product Manager
    ECCO

  7. Anna Battigelli Says:

    Thanks, Scott. It will be interesting to hear from Sayre whether his results are now stable. AB

  8. Eleanor Shevlin Says:

    Scott and Anna,

    I am copying Scott’s reply to the thread on which this issue arose.

    ES

  9. sng6 Says:

    Dear Everyone:
    ECCO is back, and I’m very happy about that, but the results compared to earlier searches are not 100% the same. They are “close enough for government work,” as they say, but not identical to those before the new installation. Specifically, let me use the searches mentioned in my long post where I announced the problem. All of the searches below are for 1701-1750:
    Feb. 17th, 2010: rotten N4 state (no dates box checked) had 54 hits;
    March 9th, 2010: now it gets 55

    Sept. 2009: antic* disposition (no dates box checked) had 24 hits;
    March 9th, 2010: now it gets 21 hits

    Sept. 2009: prophetick soul (no dates box checked) had 66 hits;
    March 9th, 2010: now it gets 56 hits

    Let me add one other, a more massive search. On Jan. 15th, 2010, a search for passion (set for just English language) received 19386 texts but now, on March 9th, it gets 18883 texts.

    So this fix is pretty good, but not exactly the same as before.
    –Sayre

  10. Eleanor Shevlin Says:

    Please see the Searching EEBO thread for the full discussion of these issues.

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