In April 2011, we announced that restrictions had been lifted from around 2,200 TCP texts from Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). Within hours, we heard from many folks who were frustrated that our announcement didn’t seem to have any teeth: Although we could (and did!) distribute the raw encoded text files to anyone who asked, there was no publicly available site for users to interact with the texts through a web browser.
I’m delighted to report that this is no longer the case: the University of Michigan-based implementation of the ECCO-TCP texts can now be fully explored by the general public.
This took awhile to implement because of how the site was set up years ago: the TCP’s transcriptions link to page images from the ECCO database. These are called dynamically from severs at Gale Cengage Learning when a user clicks on a link. Previously, only ECCO-TCP partner institutions had access to any of this content, so the whole site required authentication. All authorized users could move seamlessly from text to image views.
When the texts were released to the publich, this changed: we had to make sure that everyone could access the texts, but only authorized viewers could see these images, which belong to Gale, and which we don’t have the right to distribute. This required some custom development of our platform, DLXS, which is home to dozens of University of Michigan digital collections and publications.
- Search the ECCO-TCP corpus and view results via ARTFL‘s PhiloLogic search engine (Thanks to Robert Morrissey)
- Download the original XML/SGML encoded texts and headers from the TCP (encoded using a customization of TEI P3)
- Download plain text files (stripped of XML markup) and an index containing metadata from the Data Hub (Thanks to 18thConnect for distributing the plain text files, and to John Levin for making them available in a central, open location)
- Download TEI P5 XML and EPUB for each text from Oxford University Computing Services (Thanks to Sebastian Rahtz)
- Bibliographic information associated with these texts is available as Open Linked Data (specifically, RDF), making it possible to link books, people, places, etc., mentioned in ECCO metadata with other related data online (thanks to Keith Alexander)
I’m really excited that we now truly offer public web access to the ECCO-TCP texts, laying the groundwork for how we’ll support this functionality when the first of the EEBO-TCP texts are released in a few years. I hope you’ll test this out, and welcome your questions and feedback!