Text Creation Partnership Makes 18th-Century Texts Freely Available to the Public


We are pleased to announce the opening to the public of 2,231 searchable keyed-text editions of books from Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). ECCO is an important research database that includes every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom during the 18th century, along with thousands of important works from the Americas. ECCO contains more than 32 million pages of text and over 205,000 individual volumes, all fully searchable. ECCO is published by Gale, part of Cengage Learning.

We produced the 2,231 keyed texts in collaboration with Gale, which provided page images for keying and is permitting the release of the keyed texts in support of the Library’s commitment to the creation of open access cultural heritage archives. Gale has been a generous partner, according to Maria Bonn, Associate University Librarian for Publishing. “Gale’s support for the TCP’s ECCO project will enhance the research experience for 18th century scholars and students around the world.”

Laura Mandell, Professor of English and Digital Humanities at Miami University of Ohio, says, “The 2,231 ECCO texts that have been typed by the Text Creation Partnership, from Pope’s Essay on Man to a ‘Discourse addressed to an Infidel Mathematician,’ are gems.” Mandell, director of 18thConnect, an online resource initiative in 18th century studies, says that the TCP is “a groundbreaking partnership that is creating the highest quality 18th century scholarship in digital form.” Scholars wishing to obtain a plain text version of these documents may contact Professor Mandell directly (laura.mandell @ gmail.com). Those wishing to receive the sgml/xml files can contact us at tcp-info @ umich.edu.

This announcement marks another milestone in our partnership between the University of Michigan and Oxford University, which since 1999 has collaborated with scholars, commercial publishers, and university libraries to produce scholar-ready (that is, TEI-compliant, SGML/XML enhanced) text editions of works from digital image collections, including ECCO, Early English Books Online (EEBO) from ProQuest, and Evans Early American Imprint from Readex.

Paul Courant, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, says that large projects such as those undertaken by the TCP are only possible when the full range of library, scholarly, and publishing resources are brought together. “The TCP illustrates the dynamic role played by today’s academic research library in encouraging library collaboration, forging public/private partnerships, and ensuring open access to our shared cultural and scholarly record.”

More than 125 libraries participate in the TCP, as does the Joint Information Systems (JISC), which represents many British libraries and educational institutions.

To learn more about the Text Creation Partnership, visit www.lib.umich.edu/tcp/index. To learn more about ECCO, visit http://gdc.gale.com/products/eighteenth-century-collections-online/.

6 Responses to “Text Creation Partnership Makes 18th-Century Texts Freely Available to the Public”

  1. What the Public Release of ECCO-TCP Texts Means for You, Now and in the Future « TCP News & Views Says:

    […] TCP News & Views « Text Creation Partnership Makes 18th-Century Texts Freely Available to the Public […]

  2. Our thoughts on “Crowdsourcing and Variant Digital Editions —some troubles ahead” (2/2) « TCP News & Views Says:

    […] spring, we released 2,231 ECCO-TCP texts to the public, free of any restrictions on distribution. Already, we have seen a lot of interest in these texts, […]

  3. Announcing… Text Camp 2011 | Open Shakespeare Says:

    […] Planned activities include: Discussion and/or hacking of 2 231 texts recently released from Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO) with the help of the Text Creation Partnership […]

  4. keithalexander (@keithalexander) Says:

    I found the CKAN package for the texts: http://ckan.net/package/tcp-ecco-18th-century-texts

    And created some Linked Data from the metadata in the CSV index file:



    (the idea is that by making the data available as RDF, with people, books, places etc named with URIs, it is possible to link to and merge with other related data. So far I have only linked the town of publication to towns in dbpedia, but would like to link up at least the authors too)

    I found that some fields in the CSV were truncated, and also that the texts themselves didn’t contain line breaks. Is there a copy of the texts available with line breaks intact?

    It’s great that this is available – I found ECCO a fascinating resource when I was a student.



  5. rwelzenb Says:

    Dear Keith,

    Thank you for your interest in the ECCO-TCP texts, and for sharing your exciting work with us!

    The TCP does not capture line breaks as part of its keying and encoding practice (except where they are determined to be significant to the structure of the text, as in poetry) so there’s no version of the texts with line breaks intact that we can offer you.

    However, to supplement the plain text files that you downloaded from ckan.net, you can download the full SGML/XML encoded version of the texts here: http://www.lib.umich.edu/tcp/docs/texts/ecco_files.html (the files are divided up into batches based on when they were produced). At this URL, you’ll also find headers containing full metadata for each text.

    The plain text files and the CSV containing the metadata were added to ckan.net by independent scholars eager to share these texts with each other and with others. The wonderful thing about these texts being freely available is that anyone can work with them in any way they choose, and as a result, the number of places and channels through which these texts are available is continuing to grow. This is both exciting and challenging for us!

    Good luck, please do get in touch if we can be of help to you, and let us know what great things you do with these texts!

    Rebecca Welzenbach
    TCP Project Outreach Librarian

  6. At Last: Our Publicly Accessible Portal to Search, Browse, and Read ECCO-TCP « TCP News & Views Says:

    […] April 2011, we announced that restrictions had been lifted from around 2,200 TCP texts from Eighteenth Century Collections […]

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