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Research by reading the actual texts, from 1473 - 1700: (Re) Introducing Early English Books Online

The Libraries offer an incomparable online resource that can enrich research in English, history, religion, fine arts, music, physical science, linguistics, and gender studies.

The Early English Books Online (EEBO) database contains over 126,000 digitized titles of material from 1473 to 1700. Many of these digitized titles are in full text and include facsimiles of the original work. The works in this collection are from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and include virtually every work printed in English during this time.

The first work ever printed in the English language is available through EEBO: William Caxton's (c. 1442-1492) translation of 'The Recuyell of the Histories of Troye.' The collection spans Shakespeare through Spencer, the tumultuous years of the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the Restoration. Some examples of the works available in this collection are Pierre Monier's History of Painting (1699), Henry Purcell's A Choice Collection of Lessons for the Harpsichord (1696) and Nicholas Culpeper's The English Physician (1652).

The collection also includes the exceptional Thompson tracts; a collection of nearly everything that was published in England and on the Continent during the critical period from 1640-1660. This includes, speeches made in Parliament; news reports that provide detailed accounts of battles, and political scheming.

Users can perform advanced searches in prose, verse, songs, sermons, and prayer, and search by illustration type including portrait, music, map, genealogical table, and coat of arms.

The database may be accessed from the front page of the Libraries website, by following the path:
Research Resources > Indexes and Databases > Arts and Humanities > Literature > Early English Books Online (EEBO).

"I can no longer conceive of doing my work without EEBO," Gordon Schochet, Professor of Political Science, stated recently. "My scholarship has long dealt with the history of religious liberty and rights and is dependent on materials published before 1700. In the past, I had to plan lengthy and infrequent trips to research libraries that own copies of the books and pamphlets I need. EEBO brings the wonderful, rare-book resources of the British, Folger Shakespeare, Bodleian, and Huntington Libraries to my desk at the click of a few keys. It has completely altered the way I do my research. I consult it several time each week."

Thank you to Michele Tokar for preparing this story.

Posted February 4, 2009