Early Modern Digital Scholarship & DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks
This paper discusses recent trends in digital resources for early modern literary studies, as well as the implications of these resources for research and scholarship. In addition to comparing the use by scholars of print reference works and online databases, the essay analyzes the recent shift from 'first-generation' digital resources, such as the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) and Early English Books Online (EEBO), to newer 'second-generation' resources like DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks. Rather than strive for comprehensive coverage of early modern print culture, as ESTC and EEBO do, these 'second-generation' sites typically aim for in-depth coverage of a particular kind of text or document. DEEP, for example, is a searchable database of all extant plays printed in England to 1660, while the English Broadside Ballad Archive focuses on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century ballads. This shift in emphasis – from comprehensiveness to specialized subject matter – has resulted in, and been driven by, changes in thinking about the fundamental architecture of the databases, their searchability, and their analytical and editorial principles, all of which have significant ramifications for the type of research they enable.
Zachary Lesser and Alan B. Farmer. "Early Modern Digital Scholarship & DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks" Literature Compass 5/6 (2008): 1139-1153.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/zacharylesser/17