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Early English Books Online (EEBO) on the ProQuest Platform

Early English Books Online is Moving!

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Early English Books Online (EEBO) is now located on both the ProQuest platform (shown on this guide) and the legacy platform (related LibGuide here). 

Due to user requests for a longer adjustment period, the current Chadwyck-Healey site will be available through July, 2020.

Dual access to both instances of EEBO will be available through July 2020, at which time the legacy instance will be decommissioned. Automatic redirects will then kick in to direct users to Early English Books Online on the main ProQuest platform.

Coming soon!

Coming Soon: February 2020 release

  • Users will find a search tip for proximity searching directly on the Advanced Search page
  • Users will find an additional search field and a results filter for Country of Publication, in addition to Place of Publication
  • Displaying Bibliographic Number directly on results page entries rather than within “Preview”
  • Users can search “Bibliographic Number” discretely, rather than together with other accession numbers, removing the reported ‘noise’ in the results set
  • Users will have the ability to bookmark an individual page image, rather than just an image set.

Coming Soon: Early April 2020 release:

  • Thomason Tracts Browse: We recognize the value of Thomason’s original curated order and will be looking to recreate the old Thomason Tracts browse by volume experience. This will enable individual Thomason volumes to be accessed with the individual parts/items displayed in their original numerical order: E.201[1], E.201[2], etc.
  • Provide the full 3 lines of keyword-in-context for each result with 3 or more hits on results pages
  • A Content fix to recategorize a few periodicals that were mistakenly described as Books
  • A correct set of MARC Records that properly reflects the records and metadata in EEBO

Coming Soon: May 2020 release:

  • Hit counts on results will be corrected so that it only counts terms that appear in the keyed full text, instead of also counting hits in subject and other metadata fields

Please follow EEBO news on ProQuest Support Center.

Important information for existing EEBO Users

Important Differences between the Chadwyck-Healey version of EEBO and the ProQuest platform version, regarding variants and phrase searching:

  • On the ProQuest platform, the phrase search must be clearly defined by putting words between quotes. Example: the phrase what a rogue and peasant slave can be searched with just spaces between words in EEBO legacy, but should be searched as "what a rogue and peasant slave" in ProQuest, otherwise the space implies an AND search.
  • On the ProQuest platform, the Variants search is active by default. To see the actual variants you are searching on, you should run your search from the Advanced Search page with the ‘Show variants on Results page’ box checked.
  • Variant search is deactivated when the search term(s) are put in “quotes” or when the truncation wildcards * or ? are used.
  • When omitting the quotes the search will pull up a lot of hits, because it will retrieve any document that has all the words in it (any document with at least one known variant of each of them) without them necessarily appearing together as a phrase.
  • Long term solution: the use of single quotes as the signifier for phrase searching while including variants. We aim to deliver this in the first quarter of 2020. Single quotes brings some obvious complexity, as any phrase containing an apostrophe will need special handling.
  • Short term temporary workaround: this strategy can be used for any phrase you want to search. It uses the PRE operator (‘precedes’), which, like NEAR, can be given the number zero, to mean zero words in-between, so PRE/0. If you place that between each word of the phrase you are searching for, avoiding the double-quotes, it acts to force the phrase search without removing variants. Please note that Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), where you want to search for the actual word, will have to be placed in quotes, to search for the literal word, not the operator.
  1. Go to advanced search screen and tick the variants search box.
  2. Type in search box: what PRE/0 a PRE/0 rogue PRE/0 "and" PRE/0 peasant PRE/0 slave
  3. It takes slightly longer than other searches, as the search engine will be looking at both the proximity and the variants. The result page will show:

  • Note that EEBO on ProQuest has more content than EEBO on CH: TCP 1 and TCP 2 are included, and the number of image sets/records has increased from 132K to 146K. As a result, there will be differences between results on both old and new EBBO. See more on this in the box here below.

Read more about the benefits of the migration to the unified ProQuest platform for EEBO and more details on the differences between the 2 platforms.

What is Early English Books Online (EEBO)?

From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare, this incomparable collection now contains more than 146,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640) and Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700) and their revised editions, as well as the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661) collection and the Early English Books Tract Supplement. Libraries possessing this collection find they are able to fulfill the most exhaustive research requirements of graduate scholars in many subject areas, including English literature, history, philosophy, linguistics, theology, music, fine arts, education, mathematics, and science.

Content Description

  • EEBO consists of facsimile images scanned from the popular Early English Books I (STC), Early English Books II (Wing), Thomason Tracts and Early English Books Tract Supplement microfilm collections (issued by UMI) together with rich descriptive bibliographic metadata containing Library of Congress Subject Headings and copious bibliographic references.
  • Over 60,000 EEBO texts, transcribed as part of the Text Creation Partnership project, have been included in the new instance of EEBO.
  • EEBO contains over 146,000 works comprising more than 17 million pages of rare books.
  • The collection includes works by major authors such as Shakespeare, Malory, Spenser, Bacon, More, Erasmus, Boyle, Newton and Galileo together with a host of less frequently studied writers.
  • The collection includes a wide array of different kinds of historical documents, from Bibles, prayer books, royal statutes, proclamations, and military, religious and other public documents, through to almanacs, musical exercises, calendars, broadsides, periodicals and newsbooks, pamphlets and proclamations.
  • The EEBO Introductions Series provides concise and informative commentaries on some of the less well known texts in EEBO. Each contribution to the series has been prepared by a specialist in the field of early modern studies and offers insights into a range of contextual, bibliographical, and reception-based issues associated with a given EEBO text.

EEBO and the Text Creation Partnership (TCP I and TCP II)

To accompany the citations and page images, a separate initiative, the Text Creation Partnership (TCP) created accurate full-text transcriptions for a large selection of EEBO works. The TCP partnership began in 1999 as an innovative collaboration between ProQuest LLC, the University of Michigan, and Oxford University. The aim was to convert half of EEBO into fully-searchable, TEI-compliant SGML/XML texts. This collaboration extended to a funding partnership with JISC and a collection of libraries so that now TCP texts are jointly owned by more than 150 libraries worldwide, creating a significant database of foundational scholarship.

All scholars of EEBO can seamlessly move between the text transcriptions and the corresponding original page images on the ProQuest interface. ProQuest’s expert digitization and indexing amplifies the benefit of the full text from TCP, enabling precision searching – made possible through tools that address variant spellings and word forms.

Selection of Titles for Transcription

  • Selection is based on the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (NCBEL). Works are eligible to be encoded if the name of their author appears in NCBEL. Anonymous works may also be selected if their titles appear in the bibliography. The NCBEL was chosen as a guideline because it includes foundational works as well as less canonical titles related to a wide variety of fields, not just literary studies.
  • In general, priority is given to first editions and works in English (although in the past Latin and Welsh texts have also been tackled).
  • Titles requested by users at partner institutions are placed at the head of the production line.

1st English printed book William Caxton

First printed book published in England.

Recueil des histoires de Troie. Lefèvre, Raoul. [704] p. Bruges: Printed by William Caxton and, probably, Colard Mansion, 1473.