On 1 January 2015, 25,000 hand-keyed Early Modern texts entered the public domain and were publicly posted on the EEBO-TCP project’s GitHub page, with an additional 28,000 or so forthcoming into the public domain in 2020. This project is, to say the least, a massive undertaking and marks a massive sea change in scholarly study of the Early Modern period. Moreover, we nearly worked out how to cite the EEBO texts (the images of the books themselves) just before this happened: Sam Kaislaniemi has an excellent blogpost on how one should cite books in the EEBO Interface (May, 2014), but his main point is replicated here:
When it comes to digitized sources, many if not most of us probably instinctively cite the original source, rather than the digitized version. This makes sense – the digital version is a surrogate of the original work that we are really consulting. However, digitizing requires a lot of effort and investment, so when you view a book on EEBO but only cite the original work, you are not giving credit where it is due. After all, consider how easy it now is to access thousands of books held in distant repositories, simply by navigating to a website (although only if your institution has paid for access). This kind of facilitation of research should not be taken for granted.
In other words, when you use digitized sources, you should cite them as digitized sources. I do see lots of discussions about how to best access and distribute (linked) open data, but these discussion tend to avoid the question of citation. In my perfect dream world every digital repository would include a suggested citation in their README files and on their website, but alas we do not live in my perfect dream world.
For reasons which seem to be related to the increasingly widespread use of the CC-BY licences, which allow individuals to use, reuse, and “remix” various collections of texts, citation can be a complicated aspect of digital collections, although it doesn’t have to be. For example, this site has a creative commons license, but we have collectively agreed that blog posts etc are due citation; the MLA and APA offer guidelines on how to cite blog posts (and tweets, for that matter). If you use Zotero, for example, you can easily scrape the necessary metadata for citing this blog post in up to 7,819 styles (at the time of writing). This is great, except when you want to give credit where credit is due for digitized text collections, which are less easy to pull into Zotero or other citation managers. And without including this information somewhere in the corpus or documentation, it’s increasingly difficult to properly cite the various digitized sources we often use. As Sam says so eloquently, it is our duty as scholars to do so.
Corpus repositories such as CoRD include documentation such as compiler, collaborators, associated institutions, wordcounts, text counts, and often include a recommended citation, which I would strongly encourage as a best practice to be widely adopted.
Here is a working list of best citation practices outlined for several corpora I am using or have encountered. These have been cobbled together from normative citation practices with input from the collection creators. (Nb. collection creators: please contact me with suggestions to improve these citations).
This is a work in progress, and I will be updating it occasionally where appropriate. Citations below follow MLA style, but should be adaptable into the citation model of choice.
Folger Shakespeare Library. Shakespeare’s Plays from Folger Digital Texts. Ed. Barbara Mowat, Paul Werstine, Michael Poston, and Rebecca Niles. Folger Shakespeare Library, dd mm yyyy. http://folgerdigitaltexts.org/
Mueller, M. “Wordhoard Shakespeare”. Northwestern University, 2004- 2013. Available online: http://wordhoard.northwestern.edu/userman/index.html
Mueller, M. “Standardized Spelling WordHoard Early Modern Drama corpus, 1514- 1662”. Northwestern University, 2010. Available online: http://wordhoard.northwestern.edu.
Mueller, M. “Shakespeare His Contemporaries: a corpus of Early Modern Drama 1550-1650”. Northwestern University, 2015. Available online: https://github.com/martinmueller39/SHC/
EEBO-TCP access points:
There are several access points to the EEBOTCP texts, and one problem is that the text IDs included don’t always correspond to the same texts in all EEBO viewers as Paul Schnaffer describes below.
— Paul Schaffner (@pfs) August 5, 2015
Benjamin Armintor has been exploring the implications of this on his blog, but in general if you’re using the full-text TCP files, you should be citing which TCP database you are using to access the full-text files. Where appropriate, I’ve included a sample citation as well.
1. For texts from http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebogroup/, follow the below formula:
Author. Title. place: year, Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, Phase 1, Oxford, Oxfordshire and Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2015. quod.umich.edu/permalink date accessed: dd mm yyyy
Webster, John. The tragedy of the Dutchesse of Malfy As it was presented priuatly, at the Black-Friers; and publiquely at the Globe, by the Kings Maiesties Seruants. The perfect and exact coppy, with diuerse things printed, that the length of the play would not beare in the presentment. London: 1623, Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, Phase 1, Oxford, Oxfordshire and Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2015. Available online: http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A14872.0001.001, accessed 5 August 2015.
2. For the Oxford Text Creation Partnership Repository (http://ota.ox.ac.uk/tcp/) and the searchable database there
Author. Title. Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, phase I: Oxford, Oxfordshire and Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2015 [place: year]. Available online at http://ota.ox.ac.uk/tcp/IDNUMBER; Source available at https://github.com/TextCreationPartnership/IDNUMBER/.
Rowley, William. A Tragedy called All’s Lost By Lust. Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, phase I: Oxford, Oxfordshire and Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2015 [London: 1633]. Available online: http://tei.it.ox.ac.uk/tcp/Texts-HTML/free/A11/A11155.htm; Source available at: https://github.com/TextCreationPartnership/A11155/
3. The entire EEBO-TCP Github repository
Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, Phase I. Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, phase I: Oxford, Oxfordshire and Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2015. Available online: https://github.com/textcreationpartnership/Texts
If you are citing bits of the TCP texts as part of the whole corpus of EEBO-TCP, it makes the most sense to parenthetically cite the TCP ID as its identifying characteristic (following corpus linguistic models). So for example, citing a passage from Dutchess of Malfi above would include a parenthetical including the unique TCPID (A14872).
(Presumably other Text Creation Partnership collections, such as ECCO and EVANS, should be cited in the same manner.)