News-sheet — Winter 2010–2011
. . . A hundred happinesses attend you every new year! That is better than a hundred new years.
— Alexander Pope to William Broome (Saturday, 8 January 1724)
(EE letter id: popealOU0020211a1c)
Latest news — what's new and improved?
- I. New services for users
- II. Changes to the main website
- III. Changes to information about letters
- IV. New content
- V. Review of 2010
- Looking back on EE 2010 — read more
I. New services for users
The NEW EE classroom
Teach & learn with Electronic Enlightenment — this month we open the doors of the Electronic Enlightenment Classroom. This area contains our first collection of Lesson plans, submitted by academics from various countries, who use EE as part of their teaching. Topics covered include: history of science and medicine; diversity of opinion and intellectual rivalry; multi-culturalism; censorship & moral action; 18th-century theatre. We've also created a section called "Talking points", all of which can be consulted in the Classroom.
As the adage goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". In this vein we have created some new, pictorial guided tours giving a fresh overview of how Letters & Lives are presented in EE.
To learn more, take a tour — guided tours.
II. Changes to the main website
This month we launch the NEW Electronic Enlightenment Print-house. What is it, and why have one, you might ask? The Print-house is a place for our serialised and occasional publications, including our Anniversarial, News-sheet, Miscelleny and The Letterbook, where various occasional papers will be published.
The "Coffee-house" has been reorganised, emphasizing its primary focus on scholarly communication, research and teaching materials, supporting the main resource. It houses information about Electronic Enlightenment's
- Colloquium (annual, Oxford-based "day of correspondence")
- New Classroom (based on a collection of community-submitted lesson plans)
- Map room
- Reading room
Restructured "Information" section
The "Information" section has been restructured and the area's inside reorganized to make it easier to find what you need. We have now made it easier to find information about EE, about our content, about collaborating with us, about publishing with us, what subscriber services we offer and how to contact us.
III. Changes to information about letters
A refinement of presentation
The envelope, manuscripts and print information sections of EE's letters have gone through a significant refinement in detail and presentation.
- All address, postmark and endorsement information, previously displayed separately, has been collated into one presentation more representative of the "envelope" — which, of course, was often nothing more than the outside of the letter, folded to enclose the written surface.
From early sources to instances
- Manuscripts and early printed editions of EE's letters previously appeared in each letter's "Metabar" under the heading "Early sources".
- This section has been renamed "Instances", allowing us to cite a document's full range of manifestations without being constrained to an ill-defined temporal range by the word "early".
- In keeping with that broadening of reference, we have add to the subcategories "manuscript" and "print" the category "digital", which over the coming months will allow us to present references to letters in other digital resources.
More information about the instances
- The detail-page for "instances" of whatever sort now includes significantly more information than previously, and all in a new presentation.
- Two or more manuscript instances are listed in an order determined by the editor of the letter.
- Each manuscript instance contains a formatted citation, as well as a tabular presentation of foliation, shelfmark, collection, provenance and editorial comments and descriptions where available.
- Two or more print instances are listed in ascending chronological order (earliest to last), with the caveat that the citation for EE's printed base text, if there is one, appears at the end of the list.
- Each print instance contains a formatted citation, as well as any editorial comments; the EE base includes a tabular presentation of the specific letter's volume number, page number, letter number in the cited print edition and a link to the front and back matter of that edition.
To see an example of the new displays, please click on the following image links:
Annotations get accreditation
Electronic Enlightenment is a "critical edition" of "critical editions", and in the process of preparing material for publication in EE we often discover errors or out-of-date information, particularly in the critical apparatus: for example, to date we've discovered nearly 200 notecalls without an associated annotation, and as many annotations for which there is no notecall in the base text edition. Additionally, our active user community regularly submit corrections and new information for review and inclusion.
More than that, because EE returns letters to a historical, inter-personal exchange, far more fluid than can be accomplished by any print edition, readers can come to the letters in any of a number of ways, including a context of their own making: a search on "nature", for example, might link documents from multiple continents across several centuries. Since any particular gathering of letters in EE is most likely to occur outside the context of the original, linear print format, we have an increasing need to help inform and orient our users by creating new annotations or new instances of annotations already attached to other letters.
This "natural" digital side-effect of amalgamating multiple editions of letters, produced over a number of decades, means we have decided to implement a scholarly protocol for accrediting the source for all annotations, whether drawn from EE's base text, or having been corrected, changed or newly created by EE. Over the next few months, we will be adding a revision history with reasons for these changes and additions, where they occur.
"Searching Sources" becomes "Searching Instances"
EE is both digital project and digital publication platform, as such it contains editions that have their roots in print and editions that have never been previously printed (born digital editions). We are getting more and more of these born digital editions and have decided to make them findable and distinct within our search pages.
A Scientific Correspondence during the Chemical Revolution
EE is pleased to announce inclusion of A Scientific Correspondence during the Chemical Revolution: Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau and Richard Kirwan, 1782–1802. Ed. Emmanuel Grison, Michelle Goupil & Patrice Bret. (Berkeley: University of California, 1994).
Although the selection is relatively small (thirty-eight letters), it adds a significant scientific exchange to EE. Most of these letters were written between 1782 and 1788 — at the height of Lavoisier's Chemical Revolution and are of particular interest due to the celebrity of the two correspondents: Guyton de Morveau and Richard Kirwan.
Guyton de Morveau, along with Lavoisier, was a primary author of the Méthode de Nomenclature chimique (1787). Richard Kirwan authored the Essay on Phlogiston — later refuted by Guyton and Lavoisier.
Here are some sample letters from the edition —
- 6 January 1785 — Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau to Richard Kirwan;
- 24 January 1785 — Richard Kirwan to Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau;
- 12 March 1785 — Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau to Richard Kirwan.
Digital correspondence of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre
March 2011 marks publication of the second tranche of the Bernardin de Saint-Pierre correspondence, a collection being prepared specifically for unique, born-digital publication in EE. This month adds 189 previously unpublished letters between Bernardin de Saint-Pierre and Pierre-Michel Hennin (representing about a tenth of the total corpus), covering a period from the 1760s through to the Revolution. An administrator and diplomat of considerable influence, Hennin was a trusted friend of Bernardin, and for some 30 years he loyally supported Bernardin in all his activities, from his early military endeavours before he became an accomplished author through to the fulfilment of his literary ambitions.
Here are some sample letters from the edition —
- 5 July 1786 — Pierre Michel Hennin to Jacques Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre;
- 17 April 1789 — Jacques Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre to Pierre Michel Hennin;
- 20 September 1789 — Jacques Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre to Pierre Michel Hennin.
Miscellany, Winter 2010–2011
Banks, bankers and banking: why I'm on the verge of the road?
In this month's Miscellany, "Banks, bankers and banking: why I'm on the verge of the road?", EE's Director goes off in search of "banking" among EE's riches, but soon finds himself distracted, neither by notes nor specie, but by the wealth of information and interconnections.
V. Last year's Review
2010 was a busy year for the Electronic Enlightenment Project — our second full year since launch. During the course of the year we have added significant amounts of content and refined many aspects of the display and functionality of EE.
- EE wins the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) Digital Prize for 2010.
- EE prepares for a significant content and functionality update for March.
- EE adds export citations to bibliographic software functionality — both EndNote (enw format) and Reference Manager (RIS format);
- Extends the Lives search to expose more of our data;
- Over 450 new letters added from Gentlemen of Science: Early correspondence of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. ed. Jack Morrell & Arnold Thackray (London: Royal Historical Society, 1984);
- A significant number of new biographical notes were added including Charles Babbage, Sir Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday, Sir John Frederick Herschel, Sir Roderick Impey Murchison and Sir Robert Peel.
- The Map room is significantly expanded to include Atlases, Gazetteers and Research sections;
- Search the OED box is added to our letters pages;
- EE utilises Microsoft's Seadragon technology to show off our maps in all their glory;
- Spring update of EE MARC records are made available for public download;
- Over 450 new letters are added from the first volume of The Correspondence of Robert Boyle, ed. Michael Hunter et al. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2001).
- 340 new letters and documents and 45 new biographical are added to EE from the second volume of The Correspondence of Robert Boyle, ed. Michael Hunter et al. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2001).
- The Topics section of EE is launched giving an insight into the broad spectrum of subjects that are covered within Electronic Enlightenment;
- 189 new letters and documents and 16 new biographical are added to EE from the third volume of The Correspondence of Robert Boyle, ed. Michael Hunter et al. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2001).
- Announcing: Electronic Enlightenment colloquium on the sociology of the letter! 13th November 2010 at St. Anne's College, Oxford;
- Alternative calendaring: left-hand Metabar displays dates in Julian, Gregorian and Revolutionary forms as appropriate;
- Display of quotations in letters refined and standardized;
- EE Atlas: standardized and improved bibliographic details for maps;
- EE Atlas: Two examples of John Ogilby's innovative strip maps of British roads;
- EE adds 345 new letters and documents and 82 new biographical notes from the fourth volume of The Correspondence of Robert Boyle, ed. Michael Hunter et al. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2001).
- Maps: harbours in Cuba and Jamaica, added sheet 12 from A Map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish Settlements adjacent thereto, courtesy of David Rumsey/Cartography Associates;
- EE adds 373 new letters and documents and 89 new biographical notes from the fith volume of The Correspondence of Robert Boyle, ed. Michael Hunter et al. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2001).
- EE cracks 7,000 correspondents! This month's update takes EE's biographical database to well over 7,000 entries! The Project's editorial team has worked hard to identify and provide biographical notes for hundreds of famous and not so famous people, from abolitionists and autobiographers to watchmakers and writers of memoirs;
- Electronic Enlightenment colloquium on the sociology of the letter: Programme now available;
- Maps: We have added "A pocket companion of Ireland", courtesy of David Rumsey/Cartography Associates;
- EE is pleased to announce inclusion of the sixth volume of The Correspondence of Robert Boyle, ed. Michael Hunter et al. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2001). The sixth volume completes this fascinating edition, adding 496 new letters and documents and over 150 new biographical notes to the collection in total this edition adds over 2000 letters and over 300 new biographical notes to the database.