18thConnect – http://www.18thConnect.org

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18thConnect18thConnect (http://www.18thConnect.org) is an extraordinary digital platform for accessing scholarly contents for the 18th century and redistribute them to you without entering single databases. It works only on meta-data search. So you can search freely Early English Books Online or ECCO (Eighteenth century collections online) and many other resources (also crowdsourced resources from individual scholars or research projects) through this platform called 18thConnect.org at Miami University. (Detailed explanations and a video about contents here: http://www.18thconnect.org/about/). You can now search all the titles in EEBO (125.000 texts) and many also from ECCO in 18thConnect, using a single search page.

If you would like to search only the documents for which full text is available, as opposed to just author, title, date, then you’ll have to scroll down on the search page a little farther and click on “Full Text Only” to limit your search to these documents. Because the service is indexing descriptive meta-data’s from Open Access databases together with proprietary databases, results for searches may encounter a paywall.

In this case because the EUI library has a subscription to EEBO and also to ECCO, who uses 18thConnect.org will be able to enter full content of documents when retrieved.

This is what they say about their meta-search engine for 18th Century contents:

A digital “aggregator,” 18thConnect gathers together information about and links to the best primary and secondary texts that are available in digital form, either freely available on the Web or available by subscription. The digital scholarly resources in the field of eighteenth-century studies that are all searchable here, together, in one place, come from libraries, companies like Gale, and scholars themselves. All of these resources are either digital collections of primary texts or content that has been or will be peer-reviewed by 18thConnect itself. 18thConnect therefore contains:

  • metadata about each site or collection;
  • links that take users to the materials in sites and collections;
  • if available, plain text versions of each digital item for full-text searching [and if not link to commercial resources the EUI Library pays for]

Users who come to the site can search all the digital materials aggregated by 18thConnect at the same time by word or “facet”: title, author, date, collection, genre, discipline, material type. All of these search options are visible under the search tab at the upper right.”

Today, connecting contents through meta-data is the new frontier of the semantic web and a challenge for historians performing searches with big digital data sets.