[Humanist] 27.988 pubs: updated Wright American Fiction

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Apr 22 07:54:40 CEST 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 988.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2014 23:22:38 +0000
        From: "Dalmau, Michelle Denise" <mdalmau at indiana.edu>
        Subject: Announcing an Updated Version of the Wright American Fiction


The Indiana University Libraries are proud to announce the launch of an updated version of the Wright American Fiction project: http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/wright.

The Wright American Fiction project was conceived in 2000 under the leadership and editorship of Perry Willett, and with active participation from several Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Libraries that contributed to the digitization and encoding of the nearly 3,000 titles in this online collection.  The Wright American Fiction project draws from the comprehensive bibliography compiled by Lyle H. Wright, librarian at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.  Wright listed a total of 2,923 titles in adult fiction, including "novels, novelettes, romances, short stories, tall tales, tract-like tales, allegories, and fictitious biographies and travels, in prose" (from the introduction), and inventoried 18 American libraries for holdings. This compilation is part of his three-volume set listing American fiction from 1774 through 1900, and is considered the most comprehensive bibliography of American adult fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries.

American fiction was still in its infancy in the years 1851–1875, but this period saw publication of works by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Dean Howells, and Herman Melville. Many of these authors, especially Twain, Harte and Howells, had just begun their writing careers during this period and went on to write their best known work later. However, most of the authors contained in the bibliography are little known. This period - a momentous one in American history - provides the foundation for later American literature, and this digital collection of 2,887 titles allows insight into American literature, culture, and history otherwise unattainable.

The Wright American Fiction project is heavily referenced and often sought for data mining and textual analysis. In continuing support of readers and researchers, the project was recently migrated to ensure ongoing, optimal access to the digital content.  In 2012, the Indiana University Libraries began the migration of the Wright American Fiction project to an updated version of the text encoding, TEI P5, and to a new delivery platform, California Digital Library’s eXtensible Text Framework (XTF). Due to limited resources, functionality, facsimile page image, and text encoding improvements were not actively sought except for those original files that did not include full text as part of the original web site. Optical Character Recognition software was run against these facsimile page images to generate uncorrected OCR. The Wright corpus is now full-text searchable in its entirety, comprised of edited, mid-level encoded texts and unedited, minimally encoded texts.   Bibliographic searching is also possible as is browsing by author, title and publication year indexes.

To learn more about the technical details surrounding the new web site, please visit the project information page (http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/TEIgeneral/projectinfo.do?brand=wright), where specifics about text encoding and technical implementation are provided.

Or skip the boring stuff and explore the new web site: http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/wright.


Michelle Dalmau, Interim Head
Digital Collections Services
Indiana University
Herman B Wells Library
1320 East 10th Street, Rm W501
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Web:  http://michelledalmau.com
Twitter:  @mdalmau

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