Monday, 15 August 2016

The Corvey Collection

The history of the Corvey Collection - which has recently been added to the University Library's digital collections as part of Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) - is a fascinating one.  It was once the private library of the Landgrave of Hesse-Roterberg and kept at his princely residence, a converted Benidictine monastery - the eponymous Castle Corvey.  The library was partially digitized by the University of Paderborn before it was discovered by Anglophone scholars in the mid-90s.  The full story is available here.  As an electronic collection it is now available to University of Sheffield researchers and consists of over 17,500 full-text, downloadable monographs - mainly novels - covering the period 1790-1840.

By Photo uncredited, c. 1925-1930 (Postcard.: Verlag Julius Henze Buch- u. Kunsthandlung (Co.)) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Romanticists and Gothicists will no doubt be attracted to the idea of a 19th Century aristocrat reading novels alone in his Castle while going gently mad*, but it is worth emphasising how truly remarkable the collection is.  It contains many English works of the period that are not thought available elsewhere and a great number of foreign language works.  The editors of the collection are also keen to point out the number or works written by women included.   The works are produced in facsimile so include original illustrations and type-settings.

Therefore, as well as scholars of the 19th Century, there is also great potential for those studying female writing, or for scholars of visual or print culture.   There are a number of translated works not previously held by Sheffield that will be of interest to language scholars.  All the text is also downloadable in OCR format for those engaged in digital humanities or text-mining research.

Using the Collection

Use the advanced search option to search for individual titles or authors, or search for phrases contained within the full-text.  You can also search for individual media and illustration types via the advanced search.   As part of NCCO all the content can be searched with that of the other modules.

*(NB There is no proof that anybody went mad from reading these novels)

Monday, 8 August 2016

Sketch Engine

Sketch Engine is a new library resource bought as part of the strategic funds process.   It provides access to dozens of corpora that can be searched and manipulated with Sketch Engine's unique functionality.  The corpora are millions and billions of words in size and allow linguists and lexicographers to study the relationships between words, types of words and phrases in over 80 languages.  It is a specialist resource for computational linguists and very much supports the work in digital humanities that is being undertaken at the University of Sheffield and led by the Humanities Research Institute, but it is also hoped that it will open up new interdisciplinary opportunities for the study of language in relationship to other subject areas.  

Increasingly academic libraries are involved in advocating for content to made available in ways that can be interrogated with computational research methods.  Sketch engine represents one commercial example of this but, as a sector, we are aware of these growing areas of research and are working to break down the restrictions that publishers often place on material that obstructs this

Sketch engine comes with its own comprehensive user guide.  University of Sheffield users, if logged in to MUSE, should use the institutional login

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Dublin Castle Records 1798-1926

The Library has recently made a number of strategic purchases to support Teaching, Learning and Research across the Faculties and Departments of the University.  One of these new additions to our collections is the digitized archive of the Dublin Castle Records.

The Dublin Castle Records are the records of the British administration in Ireland and this collection covers the period from the rebellions of 1798 through the Nineteenth Century to the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War.   They include the records of the Royal Irish Constabulary with the monthly reports and statistical breakdowns from divisional police commissioners and county inspectors detailing Irish responses to British policy.   Also included are confidential papers and surveillance reports on outlawed nationalist organisations as well as dealing with broader and related themes such as labour disputes, land unrest in the West of Ireland and the militarization of Ulster Unionism.  The key figures from the movement for Irish independence are present as are Irish cultural figures who came into contact with the administration during this period.

The archive is of obvious interest to anyone studying Irish political history.  It is an essential record of the Irish Revolution increasing the ability of students to undertake effective research for course assignments, dissertations, and MA and PhD theses. Beyond this there is potential for those engaged in the study of policing methods, political activism or broader studies of the 19th Century and beyond.

Using the archive...

The archive is digitized from the collection held in the UK National Archives. It is divided into larger thematic documents with these documents being full-text searchable, although be aware that many of the handwritten documents will not take the full search. It is possible to download as PDFs sections of the text for work offline or in combination with other platforms. The Dublin Castle record is hosted on the wider Archives unbound platform and it is thus possible to combine searches with other archives held there.