Using EEBO/TCP Texts for Lexicons of Early Modern English

This guest post was written by Ian Lancashire and Ruth Peidi Zhao, of the University of Toronto. We’re delighted that a number of TCP texts have been included in the LEME project, and welcome feedback and corrections from the editors, as well as from anyone working with our text files. If you would like to contribute a post describing how you use the EEBO-TCP texts in your research, please contact us at tcp-info[AT]umich.edu. 

Lexicons of Early Modern English (http://leme.library.utoronto.ca ; LEME, pronounced like “lemma”, that is, rhyming with “hem” and bearing a final unstressed e) currently offers tools to search, display, and offer bibliographical information about 617,000 word-entries in 181 lexical works from about 1475 to 1702. The University of Toronto Press publishes LEME, and the University of Toronto Libraries – Sian Meikle, LEME’s designer (currently Interim Director of Information Technology Services, Digital Library and Web Services) – hosts it (2006-). Serious researchers license the database for searching. The bibliography and one-off searches are free.

LEME transcriptions started in the late 1980s with John Palsgrave’s Lesclarcissement (1530) and Thomas Thomas’s Latin-English lexicon (1587). In 1996, 16 lexical texts were released freely online with a student-written search engine. A generous grant from the Canada Innovation Foundation via Geoffrey Rockwell’s TAPoR turned LEME into an SQL database and expanded it to 150 texts. Dr. Marc Plamondon (Nipissing University) was the programmer.

The unit of the EEBO-TCP collection is a book, but that of LEME is a single word-entry. In displaying a dictionary page, LEME shows only the headwords of the word-entries on that page. When clicked, the entire encoded entry opens. Normally, researchers run searches on the entire database. They enter words, phrases, or collocations for searching, and LEME delivers a chronological list of matching word-entries, each abbreviated but expandable. We do not publish digitized books and so do not compete with scholarly editions or even EEBO-TCP itself. Readmore »

Function over Form: understanding the TCP encoding philosophy

In my previous blog post “Meet a TCP Editor: Sarah Wingo” I noted that one of my favorite things about being a TCP editor is the way in which each text is like a puzzle in need of solving.

This post will outline one of TCP’s basic rules for marking up text, and how that rule affects what readers will see when using TCP texts. The basic idea behind this rule is function over form. In other words, TCP aims to capture structural information which will be useful for intelligible display, informed searching, and intelligent navigation. In this way we capture the content of each book, and the meaning/purpose of any special formatting, but do not exactly reproduce the look or specific style presented in the original printed work.  One slight exception to this rule is how we capture the information for title pages. The information contained in a title page tends to receive the highest frequency of searches, so we try to avoid cluttering it with markup and as such leave title pages relatively markup free, sometimes even removing unnecessary markup. Readmore »

Call for Papers: “Early Modern Texts: Digital Methods and Methodologies”

The Text Creation Partnership is delighted to once again be hosting a conference September 16-17, 2013, at the University of Oxford. We are currently seeking submissions related to this year’s theme, “Early Modern Texts: Digital Methods and Methodologies.” From the conference website:

The Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, based at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, invites proposals for conference papers. All papers that focus on early modern texts will be considered, but we particularly encourage proposals on digital research and editing methods and methodologies in early modern studies. Possible topics could include:

  • Editing philosophies and practicalities
  • Digital citation
  • Hidden or developing research methodologies in the Humanities
  • Bridging traditional and digital methods
  • Comparative studies of different digital resources
  • Research based on EEBO-TCP
  • Digital tools to support early modern research
  • Approaches to teaching methodology

The deadline for submissions is Friday 5 April 2013.

The conference is intended as an opportunity to explore the current state of early modern textual studies and editing, and to consider possibilities for the future. There will be a particular focus on developing potential for collaborative work through scheduled networking sessions. Proposals including project demonstrations or ideas are encouraged, as are submissions from postgraduate and early career researchers.

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words, together with a brief biography (100 words maximum), to eebotcp@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. Acceptances will be notified by Monday 29 April 2013.

You can download a digital copy of this Call for Papers.

We hope to see you in Oxford in September!