Announcing a New Partnership Between Gale and the British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies

│By Chris Houghton, Head of Digital Scholarship│

Gale is delighted to announce a partnership with BSECS, the British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies. This partnership provides free access to Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) for all non-affiliated members of the society who are UK residents. From 1 February 2022, any member of BSECS resident in the UK without an existing affiliation to a UK or Ireland higher education institution will be able to apply for access to this seminal resource at no cost.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online is a crucial collection for the study of this significant period. Based on the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC), this collection was originally conceived as a microfilm collection titled The Eighteenth Century. When created in 2003, ECCO was the most ambitious archive digitisation project ever attempted, featuring over 180,000 titles comprising around 33 million pages.

In the years since, ECCO has been one of the most studied and cited digital archives and has had a profound impact on how researchers conduct scholarship of the period.1 Thousands of institutions around the world now own ECCO, ensuring that millions of students and researchers can access these materials who might not otherwise have been able to do so.

Since 1971, BSECS has been promoting the study of the eighteenth century, both in Britain and around the world. As well as organising a major international conference and supporting many smaller specialist or regional conferences, the society publishes the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies four times a year.

As the society for all researchers of this period, most of the members of BSECS come from academic or higher education establishments. However, there is a proportion, comprising mainly retired scholars or early-career researchers yet to enter the profession, who are not affiliated to an institution. Given that ECCO is only available for institutional and not personal sale, these researchers have, up to now, been excluded from using this valuable resource.

We are pleased that we can make ECCO available to these researchers now – our hope is that this acts as a thank you to those retired scholars who have used ECCO in their careers, and as a welcome boost to scholars at the very start of their academic journey.

To get access to ECCO as part of your BSECS membership, contact the society at [email protected].

Access is free, but you need to contact BSECS to confirm that you are a fully paid-up member normally resident in the UK and that you are not currently enrolled as a student or employed by a UK HEI. You will be issued with a login and password valid for one year, which may be renewed at the end of the year if your circumstances remain the same.

Learn more about ECCO and this partnership with BSECS from Chris Houghton, Head of Digital Scholarship:

If you would like to learn more about Eighteenth Century Collections Online, the content, how it has been used in research and the classroom, and recent technological updates, check out:

  1. Gregg, S. (2021). Old Books and Digital Publishing: Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (Elements in Publishing and Book Culture). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108767415.

About the Author

Chris Houghton is Head of Digital Scholarship for Gale International. As Gale International’s foremost representative for Digital Humanities, Chris is involved with all aspects of the Gale Digital Scholar Lab and is frequently found speaking to groups of academics or librarians about Gale’s work in DH. Based in Andover, Chris has worked for Gale for nearly ten years, a fact he attributes to Gale’s focus on meeting the needs and objectives of an incredibly interesting and rewarding set of customers. You can follow Chris on Twitter @DHandDSatGale .