Hello to the Early Modern Online Bibliography blog: your discussions here are amazing, and rich with references.
Robert Markley at the University of Illinois and I started 18thConnect — we are co-directors — as a subsidiary organization to NINES (http://www.nines.org) which is incredibly supportive, both financially and in other ways as well. Basically, 18thConnect is an organization that will peer-review digital resources created by 18th-century scholars and then aggregate those resources along with commerical resources.
What does that mean? When you come to the 18thConnect home page, you will be able to search for digital resources among free scholarly resources available on the web that have been judged high quality through peer review, AND commercial catalogs: ECCO, Adam Matthew’s Eighteenth-Century Journals Portal, JSTOR, ProjectMuse, etc. Our finding aid will deliver links to these resources — 18thConnect won’t house them in any way — and then, when you click on a link to an edition of Clarissa, say, proffered by ECCO, if your library subscribes to it and you are logged in at work, you will be sent directly to the resource.
Here is the news for those of you who already know about this initiative: at our summer meeting, July 15, in Dublin, Ireland, at the Royal Irish Academy, Gale consented to give us their page images. We will attempt to machine-read them better, using our own home-made OCR program, in order to produce better plain text files, something closer to the keyed texts produced by the ECCO TCP. Gale will allow us to index the texts that we produce to allow keyword searching on ECCO texts EVEN FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO DON’T OWN the ECCO catalog. In other words, you’ll be able to find the bibliographic data of the texts containing the keywords for which you search: if your library subscribes to ECCO, you can get the text directly, but if not, at least you now know which texts you’ll have to find through some other means (microfilm, interlibrary loan, visit to special collections).
We are now negotiating with the British Library and ESTC to get that catalog in as well. The Digital Bibliography for English Literature (formerly the NCBEL) will be in soon. We don’t yet have the 18thConnect finding aid up and running: once we have the Gale (ECCO), Adam Matthew (18th-c Journals Portal), DBEL, ESTC data ingested and running smoothly, we will launch: we hope, June 2010.
If you would like to contribute ideas to how this organization should work, you may wish to first take a look at online videos about NINES and 18thConnect available at:
(our temporary home)
The NINES interface has changed since I made these videos, but the principles of its operation have not.
Please contribute ideas here, as I will check frequently, but also feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org