I’ve recently finished developing the Manuscript Pamphleteering in Early Stuart England online database. This project was a collaboration between the University of Bristol, University of Birmingham, British Library and the Historical Association and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

What is a manuscript pamphlet? According to Noah Millstone, the project’s principal investigator, it ‘is a handwritten text, usually from a particular set of genres – speeches, letters, petitions, briefs, treatises, dialogues – that circulated through the particular matrix of scribal practices that prevailed in early Stuart England’.

The requirements for the database included:

  • Store information about the pamphlets and manuscripts
  • Display a transcript of the text
  • High quality images of the original to appear with the transcript
  • Allow the information to be downloaded in a PDF
  • Support simple search
  • Texts to be easily added and updated by the researchers

The pamphlets were encoded in TEI/XML and stored in an eXistDB databse. I wrote the application using XQuery and XSLT.

The data created by the project covers:

  • 50 archives (UK and USA)
  • 500 distinct texts
  • 4,000 unique witnesses
  • 200 exemplars
  • 2011 XML documents

I’ll plan to add some more posts about the project and the technologies used in the near future.