Home » EEBO-TCP: Early English Books Online

EEBO-TCP: Early English Books Online

EEBO-TCP is a partnership with ProQuest and with more than 150 libraries to generate highly accurate, fully-searchable, SGML/XML-encoded texts corresponding to books from the Early English Books Online Database.


The EEBO corpus consists of the works represented in the English Short Title Catalogue I and II (based on the Pollard & Redgrave and Wing short title catalogs), as well as the Thomason Tracts and the Early English Books Tract Supplement. Together these trace the history of English thought from the first book printed in English in 1475 through to 1700. The content covers literature, philosophy, politics, religion, geography, science and all other areas of human endeavor. The assembled collection of more than 125,000 volumes is a mainstay for understanding the development of Western culture in general and the Anglo-American world in particular. The STC collections have perhaps been most widely used by scholars of English, linguistics, and history, but these resources also include core texts in religious studies, art, women’s studies, history of science, law, and music.

The following are but a small sampling of the authors whose works are included: Erasmus, Shakespeare, King James I, Marlowe, Galileo, Caxton, Chaucer, Malory, Boyle, Newton, Locke, More, Milton, Spenser, Bacon, Donne, Hobbes, Purcell, Behn, and Defoe.


Phase I

From 2000-2009, EEBO-TCP Phase I successfully converted 25,000 selected texts from the EEBO corpus. Currently, the 25,363 texts in EEBO-TCP Phase I are available to institutions who became TCP partners before 2009, and to those who have since purchased the corpus from ProQuest.

The EEBO-TCP Phase I texts will be made freely available to the public January 1, 2015.

Phase II

Begun in 2009, EEBO-TCP Phase II seeks to convert each unique first edition in EEBO: around 45,000 books on top of the 25,000 completed in Phase I. Work is ongoing, and we are actively seeking new institutional partners—more than 90 libraries have already committed.

As of 2014, the total number of books available in Phase II to 28,466.

Currently, EEBO-TCP Phase II texts are available to authorized users at partner libraries. As of July 1, 2015, ProQuest will have the exclusive right for five years to distribute the EEBO-TCP Phase II corpus to new customers. When this window expires, the texts will be released freely to the public.

Text Selection

  • 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, we prioritize selection of first editions and works in English (although in the past we have also tackled Latin and Welsh texts). Because our funding is limited, we aim to key as many different works as possible, in the language in which our staff has the most expertise. However, exceptions for specific works may be made upon request.
  • A work will not be passed over for encoding simply because it is available in another electronic collection. Not only is the quality of these collections sometimes uncertain, a text’s presence outside of EEBO will not allow it to be searched through the same interface as the EEBO encoded texts.
  • Titles requested by users at partner institutions are placed at the head of the production queue.