Access to 18th century knowledge

Readers will have online access to a wealth of British history through a public/private cooperative venture leading to distribution of the Eighteenth Century Parliamentary Papers--content that covers a period from 1688 to 1834.

Partnering in the effort are JISC, a U.K. committee that supports the innovative use of IT to sustain learning, teaching and research; the British Official Publications Collaborative Reader Information Service (BOPCRIS) at the University of Southampton; the British Library, the University of Cambridge and ProQuest.

Through an initial grant from the JISC, the Eighteenth Century Parliamentary Papers have been digitized by BOPCRIS. ProQuest, a part of Cambridge Information Group, will provide an interface for the content, making it cross-searchable with 19th and 20th century parliamentary papers. The collection of 18th century papers will be available in November, and, as with the 19th and 20th century papers, will be full-text searchable with hit-term highlighting, bibliographic data and subject indexing. High-quality scans of the original printed papers will allow users to see all of the accompanying illustrations, statistics and maps, according to ProQuest.

Mark Brown, University of Southampton librarian, says, "The guarantee of sustainable hosting for this valuable content is a key element in this collaboration. Through this arrangement, we have been able to ensure that the content is delivered free to the U.K. higher and further education communities, while promoting its use outside the U.K. through ProQuest."

"Academics, researchers and students across many different subject areas will find this resource immensely useful," says Lorraine Estelle, CEO of JISC Collections. "JISC’s investment in the Eighteenth Century Parliamentary Papers enables colleges, universities and research councils in the U.K. to access this rich resource free of charge. All of this ... enables research projects that would otherwise be arduous, time-consuming or even impossible."

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