Early English Books and Corpus Analysis

Tokyo Woman's Christian Univ.
On Sunday, June 28th, 2015, EMDH: Japan hosted a workshop at Tokyo Women's Christian University東京女子大学.

Poster: Japanese version.

This workshop was for newcomers to the use of digital technology and also for those who have some experience using Early Modern databases and who wanted to learn more.

This workshop was open and free to the public. We were very fortunate indeed to receive roughly 30 attendees from a variety of area universities. This number was greater than we expected. We enjoyed a lively presentation with discussion and training in how to use EEBO-TCP in research.

We were also joined by a representative from ProQuest, Japan, and have begun an effort to secure a full license for EEBO-TCP in Japan. (Following this workshop the EMDH Japan advisory committee met with ProQuest representatives in Shinjuku, Tokyo, to develop a strategy to further this effort.)

The session was led by John Yamamoto-Wilson of Sophia University, who is recently the author of Pain, Pleasure, and Perversity: Discourses of Suffering in Seventeenth-Century England. Angela Kikue Davenport of Tokyo Women's Christian University moderated the discussion period. Thomas Dabbs of Aoyama Gakuin University convened the session.

The purpose of this workshop was to provide an explanation of the various online databases and resources for students and scholars of the early modern period and to give participants some hands-on experience of their use.

The main focus was on the Early English Books Online database (EEBO) and the Text Creation Partnership (TCP), with an emphasis on techniques to get the best out of both resources. In particular,
participants examined ways to work around the restrictions of TCP access, particularly for scholars in Japan.

Attendees also looked at some of the possible pitfalls in the use of corpus databases, or large databases that in their making, allow for quick analyses through the use of search terms and other methods. Specifically there was a survey of some of the other research initiatives already under way, such as the development of corpus analysis tools at the University of Lancaster.

On the one hand, the aim of the workshop was to explore ways we can work within the realities of such limitations, and on the other it is hoped that making participants aware of the value of these resources will lead to an increase in the number and range of participating institutions in Japan.

This workshop was a practical introduction for those with little or no experience and also provided practical tips for the more experienced, but it was not aimed at expert users of early modern databases.

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