From the Early Modern Web

There haven’t been enough linkfests around here lately, and my EMR drafts folder is bulging with great stuff (I will get around to doing them properly… eventually).

I sometimes pause to wonder how long it can be before the never-ending expansion of the WWW makes EMR pretty much obsolete as a resource. It was never comprehensive, but once upon a time (c.2003, maybe, after 3 years of PhD-procrastination), I might have been able to claim that the site was never more than a couple of clicks away from all the important English-language resources for early modern Europe and north America (much less so for other regions). But now? I fear that searchers are probably better off with Google. The one advantage EMR might have is that there has been some basic screening of content for relevance and quality. But it is basic, especially on the quality.

So, I do ponder where I might take EMR over the next few years. Perhaps towards more specialisation in my areas of expertise, covering fewer resources in more depth. And/or I could head in the direction of collaboration (since EMR uses blog software, it would be easy to add extra contributors… if there are any willing volunteers out there) and even ‘wikification’. Suggestions would be welcome.

But, on with the linkage!

Southeast Asia Visions: European travellers’ accounts of premodern south east Asia.
Imperial robes in the Ottoman empire
Islamic Manuscripts from Mali
Pantomime and the Orient in the 18th century

Susan Burney letters project (pilot project): a source for music, literary, social and women’s historians of the late 18th century.
William Camden’s diary
Letters of William Herle

The Herle resource is hosted at the AHRC Lives and Letters project, which has (at present) an overwhelmingly early modern focus in its projects and seems to me to be extremely under-publicised. For example, google Robert Boyle: the Lives and Letters’ Workdiaries of Robert Boyle doesn’t appear until the bottom of the second page of results (and it went online nearly two years ago). That’s frankly pathetic for a major primary source. By way of contrast, the Susan Burney project is the first hit in a Google search on her name, and it’s just a small-scale pilot.

Some more science:
The ‘Analyst’ controversy (George Berkeley squares up to Isaac Newton)
Linda Hall Library History of Science collection: a range of primary source texts
The Newton project
The Chymistry of Isaac Newton
The English Physitian 1652

Like growing numbers of universities, St Andrews has several major digitisation projects completed and underway. These are just a couple with early modern content:
The French vernacular book project: a major bibliographical project for books published in French before 1601.
Digitising the Acts of the Scottish Parliament, 1235 – 1707

Coin and Conscience: popular views of money, credit and speculation
Blackbeard the Pirate and the wreck of Queen Anne’s Revenge
Materialising Sheffield
French and Italian painting of the 18th century

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One Response to From the Early Modern Web

  1. I think there’s still plenty of room for something like EMR. While Google is probably the most useful tool for people who know what they’re looking for, who are looking for something specific, it really has always been like that. The real value of places like EMR, I think, is that they gather things together and categorize them for people who only have a general idea of what they’re looking for. There is a benefit to this that you can’t get in a search engine. For instance, I usually have a good sense of the major early modern philosophy sites (like the Analyst controversy site you note above). But if I want to (for instance) situate Hume’s use of the theatre as a metaphor in the context of early modern theatre, I’d be a bit more lost, and all the search engine would do would give me an opportunity for a lot of trial and error. There’s an advantage to being able to click on the Drama category of EMR and look what’s been collected; even if nothing there turned out useful, it would be useful for getting a better sense of what I actually need. This is helpful given that Google can often be overwhelming in the sheer number of items it can return. Needle in a haystack, sometimes.

    Of course, an advantage of taking EMR in a more specialized direction would be that you could probably do more with it.

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