How to Find Electronic Texts

Introduction 

This recipe discusses ways to find electronic texts (e-texts) online that can be used by other text analysis tools.

Ingredients 

What are electronic texts and how can we analyze them? - A Backgrounder

An e-text collection of your choosing (see below)

Steps 

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:

  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • 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.

Next steps / further information 

Here are some other well known E-Text collections

This recipe is based on Eric E. Rabkin’s Finding Electronic Texts.

TaDiRAH goals/methods 
Status