SRO: Stationers’ Register Online

Description: The development of print, not unlike the arrival of the digital age, raised questions of ownership and control of texts for authors and printers. From 1577 until 1924, the book-entry Register of the Stationers’ Company was the primary means through which control was asserted, disputed, regulated and monitored. Other than the books themselves, it represents arguably the most important primary source for the study of the history of the book in Britain. The Stationers’ Register survives intact in two series now held at Stationers’ Hall and the National Archives. In the nineteenth century, Edward Arber edited the earliest volumes of the Register (from 1577 to 1640), to which he added a fifth, index volume. With the addition of his considerable knowledge of printing and printers of the period, Arber’s work can appear as unwieldy as it is indispensable to students of early-modern print culture. Digital tools provide powerful and flexible approaches to complex data such as these, offering horizontal and vertical access into the Register. The Stationers’ Register Online (SRO) project, led by Dr Giles Bergel (University of Oxford) and Professor Ian Gadd (Bath Spa University), in collaboration with Dr James Cummings (IT Services) and Pip Willcox (Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services) is generating underlying TEI P5 XML edition of these works. The SRO received one of the first Lyell Research Grants from the History Faculty of the University of Oxford. Despite the name, the output of the project is not a public-facing website but instead the creation of a first-draft of this highly complicated and structured data which will be used as the basis for further projects in this area.

In collaboration with: Dr Giles Bergel (University of Oxford), Professor Ian Gadd (Bath Spa University), and Pip Willcox (Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services)

My work: I created a bespoke condensed schema (tei_corset) with elements renamed and abbreviated because the keying company was charging per kilobyte of output. I then did conversions for proofing and then general search and replacements to try to improve the quality of the resulting data.

Resources: This project has been funded by the John Fell Fund with only a few days proof-of-concept work in my case.

Dates: 2012-2013

Current Status: A couple days more work on data cleansing by me. Data being used as pilot for larger funding bid.


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2 Responses to “SRO: Stationers’ Register Online”

  1. David Medina says:

    How can I use SRO to find when certain publications were entered?

  2. James Cummings says:

    Yes, that data is available in the SRO files.

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