News-sheet — March 2010

After a hard and wintery winter in Oxford, we join Erasmus Darwin's anthropomorphized flower "Anemone", in praying for the breath of Spring:

Breathe, gentle Air! from cherub-lips impart
Thy balmy influence to my anguish'd heart;
Thou, whose soft voice calls forth the tender blooms,
Whose pencil paints them, and whose breath perfumes:
O chase the fiend of Frost, whose leaden mace
In death-like slumbers seals my hapless race;
Melt his hard heart, release his iron hand,
And give my ivory petals to expand.

The Botanic Garden, Part II: The Loves of the Plants, (London, 1789–1791)

I. Latest news

EE at JISC announcement

JICS Digging into Data meeting on 22nd February for all the British winners of the Digging into Data challenge, covering areas from analyzing the structure of music and of ordinary spoken English to name and place correlation. The EE presentation, ‘Digging into the Enlightenment: mapping the Republic of Letters’, was received with great interest — and the fact that we already have a preliminary visualization of data showing source and destination locations of letters over time impressed everyone. In addition the Director of EE, Robert McNamee, was able to meet the other British winners of Digging into Data and exchange information and ideas about how data and metadata can be more efficiently used and presented.

II. Miscellany, March 2010

The irrepressible ‘Rod’ Murchison

In this month's Miscellany, "The irrepressible ‘Rod’ Murchison", read about the vigorous character and wicked sense of humour of this early British scientist, added to EE this month as part of Gentlemen of Science: Early correspondence of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

III. New functionality

Export EE citations to bibliographic software

This month EE has added the ability for users to export citations for letters and lives to both EndNote (enw format) and Reference Manager (RIS format), allowing our users to include EE citations in their academic papers via leading bibliographic software.

Extended Lives search

We have now extended our searching for Lives by birth or death location to include all of the location information we hold, for example:

St George Ashe (1658–1718), bishop of Derry, born in Castlestrange House, near Athleague, county Roscommon, Ireland.

Ashe can now be found by searching for any or all of the components of his birth location. We also support partial-matching in these fields, so a search for Castle* would return "St George Ashe" within the results.

One caveat: although we have over 1000 distinct birth locations and over 700 distinct death locations, only a little over a third of our correspondents have full information on the locations of their birth and death. For many, we know only that they were born or died in a given country... perhaps in a given province. These details are constantly being researched and updated, something you can help with if you know more details than are currently recorded in EE or our sources.

New print layouts for "Letters" and "Lives"

We've revised the print layouts for both Letters and Lives to provide you with more relevant metadata. For Letters, this includes locations of writing and receipt as well as EE source details. For Lives this includes information on a person's birth, death, nationality and occupations.

IV. New editions

Gentlemen of Science

EE is pleased to announce inclusion of Gentlemen of Science: Early correspondence of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, ed. Jack Morrell & Arnold Thackray (London: Royal Historical Society, 1984). Here are a few sample letters:

V. New biographies

The Gentlemen of Science edition provides make many new and important scientific figures available to our subscribers including: Charles Babbage, Sir Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday, Sir John Frederick Herschel, Sir Roderick Impey Murchison and Sir Robert Peel. Here are a few sample lives:

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