Publishing in the Internet age: Examples in the humanities and social sciences sector

Caroline Blenkin
The Quorum, Barnwell Road, Cambridge, CB5 8SW, UK

"More than just forming an integral part of a large electronic library", the titles that Chadwyck-Healey develops on the world-wide web are seen to be representative of the future of academic research in the humanities and social sciences sector. The full text of a poem, a periodical reference or the writings of an important literary figure are delivered via the internet to the end- user making information more widely available, easily accessible and at the same time preserved for future posterity.

The internet presentation of some of the titles in my exhibition will concentrate on how certain resources can assist and enhance research and learning for humanities students/researchers based in a university department, library or working from home via a distance learning programme.

Demo session one: Literature Online

This site ( is an immense virtual research resource combining 250,000 texts of poems, plays, and novels in fully searchable format with reference works, bibliographies and hyper-links to relevant literary resources on the web.

Scholars and students in the fields of English/American literature, history, drama, philology, linguistics and religion, can search rare texts (75% of these texts are no longer in print) and conduct enquiries in seconds which would once have taken months or even years of study.

Literature Online is also interactive. It can be used to communicate with scholars and other researchers who share that field of interest and through literary discussion lists and groups, ideas can be exchanged and advice offered. There is also an on-line "Internet Bookshop" to source books in print or a specific poem which cannot be obtained at that time.

Demo session two: The Periodicals Contents Index

Anyone who needs to locate periodical articles for their research knows that it can be a time consuming process. Even after consulting several indexes, it is probable that one will not have found many references to articles written in the earlier part of this century or before. Articles in some humanities and social science periodicals many not be even catalogued at all.

The Periodicals Contents Index solves this problem ( by providing access to the contents pages of nearly 2,500 journals from 1770 to 1990 with separate records for just over nine million records. Every area of the humanities and social sciences is covered with the scope being international covering collections from around the world. For those beginning research, it enables them to do a rapid initial search of the literature which would have formerly taken a great deal of time. For those in mid-project or at the end of the project the index is a useful double check to help ensure that all of the relevant articles have been used and taken into account.

Demo session three: Goethes Werke - German literary resources

Increasingly, full text literary works are also being digitised to complement research of a particular author, poet, scientist or play-right. Such databases are produced primarily to provide further evidence for a specific literary argument or theme but also for cross-referencing one particular work of that author against another.

Goethes Werke ( is an example of a full text database that has been produced both on the web and on CD-ROM. The database consists primarily of the Weimar Edition of Goethes Werke, originally published between 1887-1919 by Hermann Böhlau (and Nachfolger) under the patronage of Großherzogin Sophie von Sachsen and hence often referred to as the Sophien-Ausgabe. In addition to this, the database contains more modern editions of the author's work, such as "Nachträge zur Weimarer Ausgabe", edited by Paul Raabe.

All of the work is reproduced in its entirety, totalling 63 Literary volumes, 14 Scientific volumes, 16 volumes of Diaries, 53 volumes of Letters and 10 volumes of Conversations (some 65,000 pages of text). This means that the student of German studying just one literary work can also find material used from Goethe's diaries or letters to enhance an essay or dissertation. The text can be also cut and pasted, downloaded or saved into ascii format or another windows database.

All tables, diagrams, charts and original illustrations are included, together with all of the comprehensive editorial apparatus. Original page breaks and line numbers are captured, as are the various typographic features of the printed editions. Extensive hypertext links have been created in the database to connect relevant editorial matter to the texts proper.

A PC running windows (preferably Windows 95) with a CD-ROM drive and an internet connection are needed.

Suggestion for sessions : Around breaks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the conference