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Early English Books Online.

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Early English Books Online.

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From Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare to the English Civil War, EEBO contains digital images of over 100,000 titles published between 1473 and 1700. Subject coverage includes English literature, history, philosophy, linguistics, theology, music, fine arts, education, and science. Material includes ballads, broadsides, pamphlets, royal proclamations and public documents.

Why use it?

Early English Books Online is a great resource for Shakespeare scholars and Early Modern historians. It contains the following key collections of early modern printed material:

  • Early English Books 1475-1640 (Pollard & Redgrave)
  • Early English Books 1641-1700 (Wing)
  • The Thomason Tracts Collection
  • The Early English Books Tract Supplement Collection

You can view digitized copies of the earliest print editions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, as well as early quarto editions of Shakespeare’s plays published before the First Folio edition of 1623.

Historians will find royal statutes and proclamations, legal and parliamentary documents as well as almanacs, calendars, broadsides and romances, which give a rich insight into all aspects of society. It’s a great source for anyone interested in witchcraft.

Theology students can enjoy early modern sermons, homilies, hagiographies and liturgies as well as read the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. The King James Bible (1611) and earlier English Latin, Greek and Welsh translations of the Bible are also available.

For more detailed information about EEBO content visit the LibGuide produced by Proquest. In addition, if you would like to know more about early books, the British Library has some useful introductory material. Se their page about William Caxton and the printing press.

Where can I find it?

  • Go to LibrarySearch or access the Library via the University Services on your Blackboard.
  • Log in using your CCCU username and password. If you are away from campus, or connecting with your own device over Wi-Fi, you will need to include @canterbury.ac.uk after your CCCU username.
  • Select Find Databases, then click on E, finally click on the link to EEBO Early English Books Online (Proquest) to open it in a new tab.

How do I use it?

  • You can perform a Basic or Advanced Search. You will see your keywords in context.

NB: A search for Keyword(s): murder will retrieve all occurrences of the word murder, as well as its variations murther, murdre, murdir, and mvrder. This includes typographical variants such as v for u, j for i or y, ww for vv or uu, s for f.

  • Choose the format you would like to view the book in:
  1. Full Text provides images and a transcription with the option for keyword navigation, allowing you to hop from each mention of the keyword. It is very clear and readable.
  2. Image Full text provides clear digitzed images which are great for close up examination of illustrations and page layout
  3. Full-Text PDF provides a clear printable copy of the document in its original layout.
  • Click on Details to see which library owns the document and full publication information. You can also see keywords which will help you with additional searches e.g. Crime – England – Early Works to 1800.
  • You can limit your search by author, date, subject, place of publication, publisher, language and source library in the left-hand pane.
  • You can browse by date, author, country of publication or language
  • You can cite, email, print or save the results, or even create an alert to notify you if additional material on your topic is added to the database.

NB: If you choose to use the Cite function on EEBO, and you are studying History at CCCU, change the citation style to Chicago 17th Edition (Notes and bibliography) but also check your course handbook. If you are studying English or Theology, the Harvard citation in EEBO is not CCCU Harvard, so you will need to check your course handbook for guidance or use Cite them Right on your Blackboard.

A short video introduction

Accessibility features

After you have accessed EEBO, go to Help and search the Support Centre for accessibility.

Apply your learning

Try searching EEBO by following the steps outlined below. You’ll practice using some of the most common functions and be ready to search for information for your assignments.

  1. Search for the topic witch trials How many results do you find? Find out which spelling variations are also included in your search by looking at “These terms are also included in your search”.
  2. Look at the Publication date bar chart in the left-hand pane. In which decade are more items about witch trials published?
  3. Limit your results to that decade. Now look at the Publication date bar chart again to find out in which year the most publications about witch trials were published.
  4. Ignoring the anonymous publications, find out by looking at the Authors in the left-hand pane who has authored the most pamphlets and limit your search to those publications only.
  5. Click on Details and click on the author’s name to find out more about works published by the author or use the Browse menu and Browse author. Find out what other topics this author writes about.

Note: A quick Google search may help you find out more about the author and their occupation, but it is advisable to check this information in more than one source.

Reflect on the type of information appearing in your search. How will you use this information in your assignments? How could you make your search more specific?

Further help

Your Learning and Research Librarian will be able to help you make the best use of online resources. Email with your query or, for detailed guidance, book a tutorial.