How to Find Electronic Texts
This recipe discusses ways to find electronic texts (e-texts) online that can be used by other text analysis tools.
What are electronic texts and how can we analyze them? - A Backgrounder
An e-text collection of your choosing (see below)
Read What are electronic texts and how can we analyze them? - A backgrounder
This will provide background knowledge and context for e-texts and why they are an important tool in text analysis. It will also provide some examples of e-text projects.
Decide what type of E-Text is needed
E-texts can be found in repositories and collections across the world wide web, from non-profit organizations to academic institutions, there are incredible amounts of e-texts at your disposal. Determining what kind of text you are looking for it first step:
- Ancient texts
- Medieval texts
- Early modern literature
- Literature written by women
- Texts in English
- Texts in Spanish
Texts in French
Find an e-text collection that matches your needs
Generalist sites, such as Hathi-Trust, the Internet Archive, or Project Gutenberg, will help you get started. They have large collections of e-texts available spanning disciplines and time periods.
If you are looking for a specific or specialized type of text consider more specific collections of e-texts:
The Rossetti Archive is a collection of E-Texts and other work by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Library of Congress’ American Memory project provides cultural e-texts of American History
The Victorian Women Writers Project is a collection of e-texts by lesser-known women writers from nineteenth century Britain
If you are researcher based out of a educational institution, most research libraries have their own collection of e-texts available to their staff, students, and faculty. Check your own library for accessible e-texts on or related to your research area.
Search for Texts
Once you determine the best place to look for an E-Text, then start looking. Each site will have it’s own set search tools, thus it is important to try different keywords and subject headings when using multiple collections.
Here are some other well known E-Text collections
- Oxford Text Initiative
- Alex Catalog of Electronic Texts
- Humanities Text Initiative
- For Collections of E-texts in Other Languages: WessWeb’s Online Text Collections in Western European Literature
- For more E-Text collections visit the British Library’s Electronic Texts Sites.
This recipe is based on Eric E. Rabkin’s Finding Electronic Texts.