• Keith Mathison

Early English Books Online Finally Free to the Public

For many years, I've been waiting to read the following words, and it has finally happened: "As of August 1, 2020, all texts produced under EEBO Phase I and Phase II are freely available to the public."

This may not excite most readers of this blog, but for those who do research into older works and for bibliophiles in general, the doors to a goldmine have been opened. These are not the kind of books easily accessible in print or even in most libraries. Having access to them, even in a digital format, is significant.

About twenty years ago EEBO (Early English Books Online) and ProQuest starting working with a large number of libraries to create fully searchable digital versions of all English books published between 1475 and 1700. There are now approximately 60,000 of these books that have been completed. For years, access was available only through institutional subscription. In other words, you basically had to attend one of the participating libraries. As of August 1, 2020, however, they are now available free to the public. I'm simply sharing this information for those who may not be aware of the recent availability of this amazing research tool.

The site is here: Early English Books Online. Click on either of the Browse keys to get an idea of how much is available.

There is another link for 18th century works. It is useful, but it is far less exhaustive than EEBO. The site is here: Eighteenth Century Collections Online.

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