In Fall 2022, students in my combined undergraduate and graduate English seminar at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County participated in a semester-long collaboration with our Special Collections Library. Head of Special Collections, Beth Saunders, and Special Collections librarian, Susan Graham, and I secured seed funding from our university to design and run an upper-level course centered on digitizing a library collection and then curating and building a digital resource.
Book Owners Online (BOO) is the work of the distinguished book historian David Pearson and a technical team that have helped translate his long-respected bibliography “English Book Owners in the Seventeenth Century” into a digital platform. The growing database contains entries for just over 1,800 17th and 18th century British book owners.
Simon Burrows and Glenn Roe’s edited collection, Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of Eighteenth-Century Studies, is a necessary reminder of the huge strides made by the field of eighteenth-century studies when employing the transformative tools of digital humanities. Impressive in its breath, this volume offers an in-depth view of several institutional projects, as well as sample DH applications to the study of the period. Ambitiously arguing that “the eighteenth century may … offer the perfect laboratory for applying digital technologies” (11), the editors have gathered contributions on major digitization efforts and DH projects undertaken in the past decade, many of them interrelated or involving transnational and cross-disciplinary collaborations, that have transformed in a relatively short period of time our understanding of the Enlightenment.
The Women’s Print History Project is a database that collects in one place information about British women’s writing, editing, publishing, printing, bookselling, and other contributions to the print trade in the “long eighteenth century” (in this case, 1750-1830). Built by a team of more than twenty people under the leadership of Michelle Levy and Kandice Sharren and funded by an SSHRC Insight Grant and Simon Fraser University, the database pulls together extensive bibliographical information from print, online, and developing sources. It is thus a much-needed centralized search for a territory that has been enriched in recent years by specialized projects covering different aspects of this historical archive.
The scrapbook has a well-established place within the history of the book that spans from early modern commonplace books to…