January 27, 2022

University of Pennsylvania: “Early Novels Database Makes 400-Year-Old Books Searchable”

From The Daily Pennsylvanian:

Early Novels Database is a bibliographic database that consists of American and British fiction novels from the years 1660-1830, and it is revolutionizing humanities research.

While the collection of over 3,000 physical books will be searchable online, the texts will not be digitalized. Rather, END will focus on making metadata searchable.

“We view ourselves as a second generation metadata driven digital humanities project,” END faculty director Rachel Buurma said.


Lynne Farrington, the curator of Printed Books at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Van Pelt, defined metadata as “information about the work.” The “work” END focuses on is paratext, which includes titles, the claimed gender of the author, prefaces, title pages and circulating library lists of borrowers. The database draws this information from specific physical copies of these novels.

Read the Complete Article

Direct to Early Novels Database

Learn More About Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center

The article also includes an embed of this video tour.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.