Early English Books Online (EEBO) is a comprehensive source of English texts covering works from 1473 to 1700. The texts originate from a number of countries including England, Ireland, Wales, and British North America. The database is the product of a partnership between Proquest, the University of Michigan, and Oxford University. EEBO currently includes over 125,000 documents and is still being updated. The resource is composed of texts from the STC, WING, and Thomason Tracts collection. Covering such fields as history, literature, medicine, and politics, these resources provide a diverse range of material useful to almost any field of enquiry.

EEBO’s extensive list of texts is complimented by a user friendly interface. Enter in your search keywords and you are presented with a clean layout clearly displaying the retrieved documents. With an advanced search, users can choose to view articles from a particular collection, and choose region specific articles amongst other options. A useful tool included within EEBO’s search engine is the Variant Spellings and Variant Forms option. This broadens the range of search results that are found by including alternate spellings of keywords. Typing in murder for instance will then include variant spellings such as murdir, mvrder, and murdre. Whether or not this helps remedy potential errors in the text resulting from OCR like ECCO’s fuzzy search is unclear. Information provided for each entry is concise and includes the author, title, date, a physical description of the object, and an image of the first page. Above the image accompanying each article are icons linking to the various ways in which the article can be viewed. By clicking each respective icon the user can view individual page images, thumbnails, illustrations, a detailed bibliography, and, where available, full text. The full text is acceptable however it appears to have some kinks. When clicking on the full text version of a certain document I was presented with text from an entirely different page.  EEBO also allows texts to be downloaded as PDF and TIFF formats. A final note of criticism is the lack of any digital table of contents. This makes the navigation of lengthier articles a bit cumbersome especially when there is also no full text available.

EEBO Interactions is a recently added component that appears to be EEBO’s answer to the rising popularity of social networking. With EEBO Interactions, users can engage with the resources found on EEBO, adding information or pointing out where information—such as dates or other bibliographic material—should be checked or added. The format of EEBO Interactions is structured but leaves something to be desired. When an article is viewed through EEBO Interactions, a number of compartmentalized boxes appear in which specific comments can be made. Users can, amongst other things, comment on the physical copy of the text, suggest related links, and add notes. Each of these contributions must fit into the specified box. Again, it provides a clean interface, but it does not feel very organic. It is clear that EEBO Interactions is still in its infancy. It feels disjointed from the rest of EEBO, requiring an alternate portal accessed from the EEBO home page. Hopefully with time, EEBO and its social element will become more unified. While EEBO’s effort is not as intensive as something like the NINES social interactivity suite, it is a step in the right direction. In conjunction with the continuing addition of new material into the database, EEBO is an online resource that is sure to appeal to scholars and students for some time to come.

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