Aims and objectives
The main objective of the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive — ECPA — is to develop into a lively, collaborative workspace in support of the teaching, study, and research of eighteenth-century poetry. To this end, ECPA is committed to the creation of an open-access digital archive of high-quality primary and secondary sources. ECPA comprises two central components, the digital collection of richly encoded full-texts and a research project, which focuses on the computationally-assisted analysis of these texts.
A digital collection
The ECPA full-text collection utilizes well-established open standards for creating and preserving richly-encoded digital texts. Based on the principle of peer participation, the corpus is edited and annotated collaboratively, and will grow and evolve with the requirements and interests of the scholarly community.
Wherever possible, we have supplemented the full-texts with digital images for scholars who are primarily interested in the appearance of the source document or who want to check the transcription against the original. We have also included an XML-editor, where corrections and improvements (descriptive and analytical) can be made directly in the source files and can be submitted to the editor for inclusion in future updates.
All digital surrogates can be downloaded in a variety of formats and re-used under the terms of ECPA's content license. If you re-use and do exciting things with any of the digital surrogates, please do let us know about it.
A research project
The focus of the ECPA research project is the integration of texts and (digital) scholarship into a living research collection of eighteenth-century poetry. The main purpose of this integration is to facilitate interactivity and discovery, and to support a multi-layered reader-engagement. For this purpose, we have introduced a variety of views, which reflect different modes of reader-engagement with the texts.
We have represented each of the different modes of engagement in the side-by-side layout of text and view in the form of tabs (currently, Reading view and Analysis view) in the hope that the information provided in each will best support the level of engagement the reader has chosen.
While the reading view offers a set of bibliographic metadata, information about the source edition, a brief summary of poetic form, an editorial statement, and other contextualizing information, the five analytical layers that support the analysis view are intended to support a close reading of the texts, and help to reflect this engagement through enabling interactive selection, highlighting, and manipulation of the observed phenomena. We hope that through the combination of human knowledge (manifested through contributions to the corpus in form of corrections, annotations, glosses, and interpretations) and machine learning we can arrive at an "augmented criticism" (Bradley/Ullyot) based on a wider scale of evidence and more comprehensive analysis.
Over time, the ECPA research project will facilitate new modes of engagement (views), which will join reading and analysis, and allow for increasingly sophisticated ways of interacting and thus re-creating the texts through each reading process.
Work on the small project that eventually evolved into the more ambitious Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive began in 2006. Originally intended as a focused contextualisation to the Thomas Gray Archive, covering the lives and works of contemporaries of Gray's such as William Collins, Mark Akenside, Joseph and Thomas Warton, Christopher Smart, James Thomson, the materials quickly grew substantial in quantity and wide-ranging in subject matter and coverage.
In 2008, the idea for a much more comprehensive and ambitious project that would contribute to and benefit from the many exciting developments in "humanities computing" at the time was born. With full-text production of ECCO-TCP in full swing in Oxford, early experiments in the computational exploration and analysis proved promising and encouraged us to embark on a dedicated resource on eighteenth-century poetry. After several delays for various reasons, work on ECPA began in earnest in Winter 2012.
A first alpha version of the Website was completed in Winter 2015. The current beta of ECPA went live on 1 May 2016. We are actively seeking formative peer review at this stage, please do not hesitate to contact us with any issues, requests, or general feedback about the content, functionalities, or design of the Website.
While not currently funded, ECPA might lead to funding opportunities, particularly through (interdisciplinary) collaboration on research projects or participation in national or international initiatives. As a collaborative effort of scholars, teachers and students of eighteenth-century poetry, ECPA is made possible primarily through the generous donation of its contributors' time and expertise.
We are cooperating with the ERC-funded POSTDATA - Poetry Standardization and Linked Open Data project (2016-2021) to construct a digital platform of semantically linked poetry. POSTDATA is a research project at the Laboratorio de Innovación en Humanidades Digitales (LiNHD), Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid.
ECPA builds on the digital texts created by the Text Creation Partnership from Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). We use the TEI/XML P5 versions of the texts as they are made available by the Oxford Text Archive (OTA) as our starting point (all changes to the documents have been recorded as revisions). The following is a high-level summary of the steps taken to create the digital surrogates in ECPA. Any tools used for a particular task are also listed.
Transcription and descriptive markup
- single-pass correction of transcription and markup (addresses gaps, structural errors, omissions) against the ECCO microfilm images
- illegible text was supplied either from the copies originally used for the microfilms or other available copies of the same edition
- enhanced 'semi-diplomatic' transcription of a small sample of texts (adding typographical features, drop capitals, indentations etc.), otherwise 'semi-normalized'
- enhancing of bibliographic information and references (Foxon, DMI, etc.)
- adding author information on item level
- assigning of IDs to poems and lower-level structural units
- recording verse, stanza, and poem form
- assigning of themes and genres (vocabulary adapted from DMI)
- assigning rhyme scheme (where applicable)
- assigning metrical pattern (where applicable)
- recording of syllable pattern
- addition of explanatory/editorial annotations
- tokenization/sentencing (white-space tokenization, Morphadorner)
- PoS-tagging (dictionary-based, Morphadorner)
- lemmatization/regularization (dictionary-based, Morphadorner)
- syllable count (Morphadorner)
- spot-checking and correction of the above steps
- phonemic transcription (self-developed tool, mostly dictionary-based)
- metrical and rhyme analysis (self-developed tool)
- rhetorical figure detection (self-developed tool)
- named entity recognition (mostly gazetteer-based, generated from several NER engines, including the Stanford Named Entity Recognizer, MITIE: MIT Information Extraction, and Apache OpenNLP )
- syntactic dependency parse (MaltParser [pre-trained, optimized])
- frame-semantic parse (SEMAFOR [pre-trained])
- based on the concepts of peer participation and peer content creation
- opportunities for user contributions (subject to peer review)
- review-based annotation system to any part of a text (notes/queries)
- direct editing of XML sources
- digital images (captured with an Atiz BookDrive scanning station)
- all content files available for download via the "Downloads"-tab, all data supporting this research are also available from our GitHub page
Current and future plans
Over the coming months, we will be mainly working on expanding and improving ECPA to a more comprehensive "release" version. We will be focusing on the following areas.
Scope of the digital collection
ECPA currently comprises works by authors. Originally taken from just three sources,
- Mark Akenside's Pleasures of Imagination (1744), published by Dodsley,
- Robert Dodsley's six-volume Collection (1763 [1st. ed. 1758]), the last edition to appear in his lifetime, and
- Thomas Gray's English poems, taken from the Thomas Gray Archive,
we will be expanding the scope of the collection over the coming months with the addition of numerous single author editions (currently in preparation: Mary Robinson, Stephen Duck, Oliver Goldsmith, Hannah More) and of the following miscellanies intended as supplements to Dodsley's Collection:
- A Collection of the Most Esteemed Pieces of Poetry. Edited by Moses Mendez (1 vol., 1st edition 1767) [added in v0.95.8]
- A Collection of Poems in Four Volumes. By Several Hands. Edited by G. Pearch (4 vols., 2nd edition 1770) [added in v0.96]
Please feel free to send us suggestions for additions you would like us to prioritise, or, if you have your own collection of texts, we would be more than happy to collaborate with you on their inclusion in ECPA .
We are currently working on providing better interconnection between the analytical layers in the analysis view. As each layer interacts with the others at any given point as well as over time, we are looking for better ways to make these points of connectedness visible and highlight the ways in which these are maintained, dissolved, and taken up again (in different forms) over time.
As ECPA evolves and matures, we will expand our research to go beyond the current modes of reading and analysis.
Output and dissemination
The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive's main output is a comprehensive set of tools and high-quality resources aimed at supporting scholars, teachers, and students of eighteenth-century poetry throughout the research process, from the early stages of discovery, collection, and annotation through to the later stages of comparison, analysis, and composition.
All of ECPA's digital collections and research outcomes are freely available online for review and secondary analysis, future digital scholarship, opportunities for (interdisciplinary) collaboration, re-use, extension, or adaptation, and long-term preservation. All data can be downloaded from the Website or our GitHub page.
Conceived of as collaborative from inception, ECPA is also seeking to increase its outreach through collaboration with libraries, other digital repositories, research projects, scholarly societies, and initiatives such as 18thConnect.
- 01 May 2016 (v0.95): Public beta first made available at http://www.eighteenthcenturypoetry.org/ (604 works, 147 authors)
- 18 May 2016 (v0.95.1): Content added: Alexander Pope (13 poems added)
- 31 May 2016 (v0.95.2): Content added: Jonathan Swift (author page and eleven poems added)
- 16 June 2016 (v0.95.3): Content added: Anna Laetitia Barbauld (author page and 32 poems added)
- 30 June 2016 (v0.95.4): Content added: Joseph Addison (author page, six English and Latin poems, three translator pages and four English translations added)
- 15 July 2016 (v0.95.5): Content added: Mary Leapor (author page and 70 poems added)
- 17 August 2016 (v0.95.6): Enhancements: introduced "Featured Author" and "Featured Work"; Corrections: several PoS tagging issues resolved
- 31 August 2016 (v0.95.7): Content added: Charles Churchill (author page and 12 poems added)
- 30 September 2016 (v0.95.8): Content added: A Collection of the Most Esteemed Pieces of Poetry, ed. by Moses Mendez (1 vol., 1st edition 1767) (36 new author pages and 78 poems added); Content removed: author pages for D'Assigny and Waller; Enhancements: home page re-designed; Corrections: minor encoding issues resolved
- 31 October 2016 (v0.96): Content added: A Collection of Poems in Four Volumes. By Several Hands, ed. by G. Pearch (4 vols., 2nd edition 1770) (64 new author pages and 293 poems added); Version milestone (1000+ works) reached; Corrections: several PoS tagging and sentencing issues resolved; Enhancements: NER gazetteer supplemented by PoS-based named entity recognition
- 16 November 2016 (v0.96.1): Content added: Ann Yearsley, Poems on Several Occasions (1785) (author page and 17 poems added)
- 30 November 2016 (v0.96.2): Content added: John Pomfret, Poems upon Several Occasions (6th ed., 1724) (author page and 20 poems added)
- 16 December 2016 (v0.96.3): Content added: Laetitia Pilkington (enhanced author page and one poem added) and John Philips (author page and two poems added)
- 30 January 2017 (v0.96.4): Content added: Mary Barber (114 poems added) and seven other authors (seven new author pages and 19 poems added)
- 27 February 2017 (v0.96.5): Content added: William Diaper and Edward Young (author pages and some major works added); Enhancements: tables of contents of all source editions added; Corrections: minor encoding issues and several sentencing issues resolved
- 31 March 2017 (v0.96.6): Content added: Anne Finch, Miscellany poems, on several occasions (1713) (author page and 86 poems added); Enhancements: links from the gallery to author pages added; links to source editions in the OTA added; all data supporting this research are now also available from our GitHub page; Corrections: sorting of work titles improved
- 18 April 2017 (v0.96.7): Content added: William Cowper, Poems (1782) and The Task (1785) (two author pages and 49 poems added) and James Thomson (major works added); Enhancements: improved display of other works by the same author(s) in the reading view
We are interested in working with scholars on any aspect of the poetry of the long eighteenth-century. Some of the areas we think might be fruitfully explored include:
- interlinking of texts that form a clear dialogue with each other
- exploring digital editing of a text or author and edition visualization
- expanding an author or improving a single text or group of texts
- (insert your idea here... and get in touch!)
If you would like to collaborate with us on a project, please do not hesitate to contact the editor.
Copyright information and citation guide
All digital surrogates of works not held by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive are reproduced under license from the libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions which hold the originals and must not be reproduced without prior written permission. Unfortunately, ECPA is unable to provide that permission, nor can it provide images for re-use as the copyright holders may reserve the right to charge a fee. Please contact the relevant institution directly using the copyright information provided with every work in the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive.
Copyright in digital surrogates of works owned by ECPA, in the electronic texts, bibliographic information and markup, and the Website is with the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive. These works, including their XML source files, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
All contributions to ECPA are submitted to the editor in the first instance for review. When accepted for publication, all contributions become licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. This license protects contributions, but at the same time lets others re-use and build upon them.
If you want to cite material from the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive in online or print publications, please feel free to copy and paste the information provided in the the MLA-style citation in the footer of each page.
The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive is open access. All materials are made available under the license terms indicated above.
We use two external services which will store some small pieces of information on your computer in the form of cookies. We use AddThis to connect our Website to a number of Social Networking services and also to provide convenient access to sharing, printing, and e-mail options. And we use Google Analytics to provide us with a measure of the usage and impact of our site, and to inform any outreach activities. We only submit anonymized IP addresses to Google Analytics.
We would like to thank the Text Creation Partnership for their efforts to create and make available searchable digital editions of the books in the Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) corpus.
We would like to thank the staff of Imaging Services at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford for their expertise, advice and practical assistance in creating the digital images.
We would like to thank Zoomify, Inc. for the gift of the enterprise edition of the Zoomify software to ECPA.
ECPA was founded and is edited by Alexander Huber, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. The Website was designed by Emma Huber, Taylor Institution Library, Oxford.
You can telephone and fax the editor respectively on +44 (0)1865 2-80032 and +44 (0)1865 2-04937.
You can also write to the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive at:
Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive
Alexander Huber, Editor
University of Oxford
Osney One Bldg., Osney Mead