Aims and objectives

The main objective of the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive — ECPA — is to develop into a lively, collaborative workspace in support of the teaching, study, and research of eighteenth-century poetry. To this end, ECPA is committed to the creation of an open-access digital archive of high-quality primary and secondary sources. ECPA comprises two central components: the digital collection of richly encoded full-texts and a research project, which focuses on the computationally-assisted analysis of these texts.

A digital collection

The ECPA full-text collection utilizes well-established open standards for creating and preserving richly-encoded digital texts. Based on the principle of peer participation, the corpus is edited and annotated collaboratively, and will grow and evolve with the requirements and interests of the scholarly community. ECPA thus participates in and benefits from a growing network of editors, scholars, and students who are collaborating and sharing texts, notes, and interpretations in a global network.

Wherever possible, we have supplemented the full-texts with digital images for scholars who are primarily interested in the appearance of the source document or who want to check the transcription against the original. We have also included an XML-editor, where corrections and improvements (descriptive and analytical) can be made directly in the source files and can be submitted to the editor for inclusion in future updates.

All digital surrogates can be downloaded in a variety of formats and re-used under the terms of ECPA's content license. If you re-use and do exciting things with any of the digital surrogates, please do let us know about it.

A research project

The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive aims to make a scholarly contribution by producing a corpus of annotated texts, analyses, tools, and a host of secondary materials. The focus of the ECPA research project is the integration of texts and (digital) scholarship into a living research collection of eighteenth-century poetry. The main purpose of this integration is to facilitate interactivity and discovery, and to support a multi-layered reader engagement. For this purpose, we have introduced a variety of views, which reflect different modes of engagement with the texts.

We have represented each of the different modes of engagement in the side-by-side layout of text and view in the form of tabs (currently, Reading view, Analysis view, and Visualization view) in the hope that the information provided in each will best support the level of engagement the reader has chosen.

The reading view offers a set of bibliographic metadata, information about the source edition, a brief summary of poetic form, an editorial statement, and other contextualizing information, as well as a reading aid function. The five analytical layers that support the analysis view are intended to support a close reading of the texts, and help to reflect this engagement through enabling interactive selection, highlighting, and manipulation of the observed phenomena. Our visualization view comprises a growing number of visualizations intended to support the analysis/interpretation of the poems. By shedding light on the texts from different visualization perspectives (presentational/disseminative, operational/observational, analytical/interactive, creative/inventive) and with varying foci on one or more analytical layers, the visualizations serve as a toolbox for researchers interested in visual interpretation. We hope that through the combination of knowledge modelling and machine learning we can arrive at an "augmented criticism" (Bradley/Ullyot) based on a larger pool of supporting materials and more comprehensive analysis.

Over time, the ECPA research project will facilitate new modes of engagement (views), which will join the current views, and allow for increasingly sophisticated ways of interacting and thus re-creating the texts through each reading process.


Work on the small project that eventually evolved into the more ambitious Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive began in 2006. Originally intended as a focused contextualisation to the Thomas Gray Archive, covering the lives and works of contemporaries of Gray's such as William Collins, Mark Akenside, Joseph and Thomas Warton, Christopher Smart, James Thomson, the materials quickly grew substantial in quantity and wide-ranging in subject matter and coverage.

In 2008, the idea for a much more comprehensive and ambitious project that would contribute to and benefit from the many exciting developments in digital literary studies and humanities computing at the time was born. With full-text production of ECCO-TCP in full swing in Oxford, early experiments in computational literary criticism proved promising and encouraged us to embark on a dedicated resource on eighteenth-century poetry. After several delays for various reasons, work on ECPA began in earnest in Winter 2012.

A private alpha version of the Website was completed in Winter 2015. The public beta phase of ECPA began on 1 May 2016 and ended on 1 May 2019. We continue to seek post-publication peer review at this stage, please do not hesitate to contact us with any issues, requests, or general feedback about the content, functionalities, or design of the Website.


The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive is an unfunded research project. As a collaborative effort of scholars, teachers, and students of eighteenth-century poetry, ECPA is made possible primarily through the generous donation of its contributors' time and expertise. We anticipate funding opportunities, particularly through (interdisciplinary) collaboration on research projects or participation in national or international initiatives, will become available over time.


We are cooperating with the ERC-funded POSTDATA - Poetry Standardization and Linked Open Data project (2016-2021) to construct a digital platform of semantically linked poetry. POSTDATA is a research project at the Laboratorio de Innovación en Humanidades Digitales (LiNHD), Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid.


Powered by TEI

ECPA builds on the digital texts created by the Text Creation Partnership from Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). We use the TEI/XML P5 versions of the texts as they are made available by the Oxford Text Archive (OTA) as our starting point (all changes to the documents have been recorded as revisions). The following is a high-level summary of the current steps taken to create the digital surrogates in ECPA. Any tools used for a particular task are also listed.

Transcription and descriptive markup

  • single-pass correction of transcription and markup (addresses gaps, structural errors, omissions) against the ECCO microfilm images
  • illegible text was supplied either from the copies originally used for the microfilms or other available copies of the same edition
  • enhanced 'semi-diplomatic' transcription of a small sample of texts (adding typographical features, drop capitals, indentations etc.), otherwise 'semi-normalized'
  • enhancing of bibliographic information and references (Foxon, DMI, etc.)
  • adding author information on item level

Analytical markup

  • assigning of IDs to poems and lower-level structural units
  • recording verse, stanza, and poem form
  • assigning of themes and genres (vocabulary adapted from DMI)
  • assigning rhyme scheme (where applicable)
  • assigning metrical pattern (where applicable)
  • recording of syllable pattern
  • addition of textual and explanatory notes

Text processing

  • tokenization/sentencing (white-space tokenization, Morphadorner)
  • PoS-tagging (dictionary-based, Morphadorner)
  • lemmatization/regularization (dictionary-based, Morphadorner)
  • syllable count (Morphadorner)
  • spot-checking and correction of the above steps
  • phonemic transcription (mostly dictionary-based, self-developed tool)



  • based on the concepts of peer participation and peer content creation
  • opportunities for user contributions (subject to peer review)
  • review-based annotation system to any part of a text (notes/queries)
  • direct editing of XML sources
  • digital images (captured with an Atiz BookDrive scanning station)
  • all content files available for download via the "Downloads"-tab, all data supporting this research are also available from our GitHub page

Current and future plans

The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive is currently being updated twice a year, in the Summer and Winter. Our current priorities include:

Digital collection

ECPA currently comprises works by authors. We will continue to work towards increasing the number of authors, particularly women authors, and works represented.

Please feel free to send us suggestions for additions you would like us to prioritise, or, if you have your own collection of texts, we would be more than happy to collaborate with you on their inclusion in ECPA .


We are working on providing better interconnection between all analytical layers as these inform all current and future modes of reader engagement. As each layer interacts with the others at any given point as well as over time, we are looking for better ways to make these points of connectedness visible and highlight the ways in which these are maintained, dissolved, and taken up again (in different forms) over time.

As ECPA evolves and matures, we will expand our research to go beyond the current modes (views) of reader engagement (reading, analysis, visualization, and modelling).

Output and dissemination

The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive's main output is a comprehensive set of tools and high-quality resources aimed at supporting scholars, teachers, and students of eighteenth-century poetry throughout the research process, from the early stages of discovery, collection, and annotation through to the later stages of comparison, analysis, and composition.

All of ECPA's digital collections and research outcomes are freely available online for review and secondary analysis, future digital scholarship, opportunities for (interdisciplinary) collaboration, re-use, extension, or adaptation, and long-term preservation. All data can be downloaded from the Website or our GitHub page.

Conceived of as collaborative from inception, ECPA is also seeking to increase its outreach through collaboration with libraries, other digital repositories, research projects, scholarly societies, and initiatives such as 18thConnect.

Update history

  • 1 May 2016 (v0.95): Public beta first made available at http://www.eighteenthcenturypoetry.org/ (604 works, 147 authors)
  • 18 May 2016 (v0.95.1): Content added: Alexander Pope (13 poems added)
  • 31 May 2016 (v0.95.2): Content added: Jonathan Swift (author page and eleven poems added)
  • 16 June 2016 (v0.95.3): Content added: Anna Laetitia Barbauld (author page and 32 poems added)
  • 30 June 2016 (v0.95.4): Content added: Joseph Addison (author page, six English and Latin poems, three translator pages and four English translations added)
  • 15 July 2016 (v0.95.5): Content added: Mary Leapor (author page and 70 poems added)
  • 17 August 2016 (v0.95.6): Enhancements: introduced "Featured Author" and "Featured Work"; Corrections: several PoS tagging issues resolved
  • 31 August 2016 (v0.95.7): Content added: Charles Churchill (author page and twelve poems added)
  • 30 September 2016 (v0.95.8): Content added: A Collection of the Most Esteemed Pieces of Poetry, ed. by Moses Mendez (1 vol., 1st edition 1767) (36 new author pages and 78 poems added); Content removed: author pages for D'Assigny and Waller; Enhancements: home page re-designed; Corrections: minor encoding issues resolved
  • 31 October 2016 (v0.96): Content added: A Collection of Poems in Four Volumes. By Several Hands, ed. by G. Pearch (4 vols., 2nd edition 1770) (64 new author pages and 293 poems added); Version milestone (1000+ works) reached; Corrections: several PoS tagging and sentencing issues resolved; Enhancements: NER gazetteer supplemented by PoS-based named entity recognition
  • 16 November 2016 (v0.96.1): Content added: Ann Yearsley, Poems on Several Occasions (1785) (author page and 17 poems added)
  • 30 November 2016 (v0.96.2): Content added: John Pomfret, Poems upon Several Occasions (6th ed., 1724) (author page and 20 poems added)
  • 16 December 2016 (v0.96.3): Content added: Laetitia Pilkington (enhanced author page and one poem added) and John Philips (author page and two poems added)
  • 30 January 2017 (v0.96.4): Content added: Mary Barber (114 poems added) and seven other authors (seven new author pages and 19 poems added)
  • 27 February 2017 (v0.96.5): Content added: William Diaper and Edward Young (author pages and some major works added); Enhancements: tables of contents of all source editions added; Corrections: minor encoding issues and several sentencing issues resolved
  • 31 March 2017 (v0.96.6): Content added: Anne Finch, Miscellany poems, on several occasions (1713) (author page and 86 poems added); Enhancements: links from the gallery to author pages added; links to source editions in the OTA added; all data supporting this research are now also available from our GitHub page; Corrections: sorting of work titles improved
  • 18 April 2017 (v0.96.7): Content added: William Cowper, Poems (1782) and The Task (1785) (two author pages and 49 poems added) and James Thomson (major works added); Enhancements: improved display of other works by the same author(s) in the reading view
  • 2 May 2017 (v0.97): Content added: Mary Robinson (author page and 31 poems added); Version milestone (completion of year one) reached (1501 works, 269 authors); Enhancements: follow ECPA on Facebook or Google+ for the latest updates; Corrections: several important corrections prompted by user feedback
  • 10 May 2017 (v0.97.1): Enhancements: token highlighting in syntactic and semantic parses (analysis view) added; Corrections: resolved an issue introduced in v0.97 that resulted in erroneous spelling normalizations
  • 1 June 2017 (v0.97.2): Content added: Stephen Duck and Oliver Goldsmith (major works added); Enhancements: added phonemic transcription display in the phonological layer and token highlighting in morphological parses (analysis view)
  • 14 June 2017 (v0.97.3): Content added: Sarah Fyge Egerton (author page and 58 poems added), Mary Jones (author page and 53 poems added), and Hannah More (author page and three poems added)
  • 3 July 2017 (v0.97.4): Content added: Elizabeth Singer Rowe (enhanced author page and 52 poems added)
  • 17 August 2017 (v0.97.5): Content added: Christopher Smart (31 poems added)
  • 4 September 2017 (v0.98): Content added: George Crabbe (author page and nine poems added); Enhancements: added analysis popovers (similar to contextual reading aid popovers in the reading view), which provide an integrated display of the analytical layers for every word/token; Research: planning phase for the next two modes of engagement (views) started, namely visualization view and modelling view
  • 2 October 2017 (v0.98.1): Content added: Helen Maria Williams (author page and 60 poems added); Enhancements: introductory tour of the ECPA views and core features added; Website: fixed an issue that prevented printing of some pages
  • 1 November 2017 (v0.98.2): Content added: George Monck Berkeley (author page and 44 poems added), Robert Bloomfield (author page and one poem added), and Amelia Alderson Opie (author page and 37 poems added)
  • 4 December 2017 (v0.98.3): Content added: Anna Seward (author page and twelve poems added), Anne Home Hunter (author page and 58 poems added), Susanna Blamire (author page and 84 poems added), and Catherine Gilpin (author page and two poems added); Website: all external links restored and verified
  • 17 January 2018 (v0.98.4): Content added: Hannah Cowley (author page and 21 poems added), Robert Merry (author page and eight poems added), Bertie Greatheed (author page and one poem added), and Ann Yearsley (one poem added)
  • 5 February 2018 (v0.98.5): Content added: Joanna Baillie (author page and 93 poems added)
  • 8 March 2018 (v0.98.6): Content added: Thomas Chatterton (author page and 45 poems added) and Thomas Cary (author page and one poem added)
  • 3 April 2018 (v0.98.7): Content added: Charlotte Smith (author page and 68 poems added)
  • 2 May 2018 (v0.99): Content added: James Macpherson (author page and 32 poems added); Version milestone (completion of year two) reached (2327 works, 289 authors); Enhancements: ECPA is now also listed as a dataset in the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA); Website: added placeholders for visualization and modelling views to the interface, updates on progress to follow throughout the year
  • 4 June 2018 (v0.99.1): Content added: Isaac Watts (author page and 111 poems added); Enhancements: source editions are now browsable in their entirety (via the icons); Website: the vertical divider on poem pages can now be dragged to resize the left and right parts of the display in any view; Research: we have begun implementation of our first visualization, entitled Phonemia, to be added over the coming months
  • 2 July 2018 (v0.99.2): Content added: Mary Collier (author page and ten poems added); Enhancements: minor corrections and additions (vocabulary density, most frequent words, average number of words per sentence) in the analysis view; Research: delighted to announce that Poem Viewer (funded by JISC/NEH's "Digging Into Data Challenge") will become one of the visualizations available in ECPA's visualization view—many thanks to Alfie Abdul-Rahman for collaborating with us on this project!
  • 15 August 2018 (v0.99.3): Content added: Thomas Parnell (author page and 20 poems added); Research: Phonemia and Poem Viewer, our first two visualizations, will become available in our next update (Sep. 2018)
  • 3 September 2018 (v0.99.4): Content added: Charlotte Lennox (author page and 31 poems added); Research: Phonemia and Poem Viewer are now live and ready to be explored in the visualization view
  • 1 October 2018 (v0.99.5): Content added: six women poets (Mary Pix, Susanna Centlivre, Elizabeth Griffith, Sophia Lee, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Ann Batten Cristall) (author pages and 35 poems added); Corrections: removed separate author profiles of translated authors; Enhancements: added listing of work titles by source editions to author profiles; added free-text input field for notes/observations to the analysis view
  • 5 November 2018 (v0.99.6): Content added: Ambrose Philips (author page and six poems added) and John Gay (author page and 51 poems added); Outreach: we are delighted to be collaborating with 18thConnect on the integration of ECPA into their fold of federated digital projects
  • 3 December 2018 (v0.99.7): Content added: James Boswell (author page and five poems added) and Hannah Brand (author page and seven poems added); Research: performance improvements and other enhancements in the Phonemia visualization
  • 3 January 2019 (v0.99.8): Content added: Mary Alcock (author page and 51 poems added) and Robert Burns (author page and 44 poems added); Enhancements: updated and expanded bibliography
  • 4 February 2019 (v0.99.9): Content added: Hymns and Sacred Poems by John and Charles Wesley and friends (five author pages and 87 poems added); Research: we have started implementing the backend components of our modelling view (core and domain ontologies, triplestore); over the coming months, we will be concentrating on the modelling interface and visualization, we hope to finalize a working prototype by the end of beta
  • 4 March 2019 (v0.99.10): Content added: Catherine Rebecca Grey, Lady Manners (author page and 28 poems added)
  • 2 April 2019 (v0.99.11): Content added: Matthew Prior (author page and 114 poems added); Research: DoubleTree joins the available adapted visualizations in the visualization view; Enhancements: redesigned and expanded visualization view
  • 1 May 2019 (v1.0 (1 May 2019)): Release version milestone (completion of year three/end of beta) reached (2959 works, 314 authors); Content added: late eighteenth-century authors, (Mary) Matilda Betham (author page and 30 poems added), Thomas Campbell (author page and seven poems added), and Maria and Harriet Falconar (author pages and two poems added)


We are interested in working with scholars and digital humanists on any aspect of the poetry of the long eighteenth-century. Some of the areas we think might be fruitfully explored include:

  • interlinking of texts that form a clear dialogue with each other;
  • exploring digital editing of a text or author and edition visualization;
  • expanding an author or improving a single text or group of texts;
  • collaborating on improving, training, and adding to the set of tools;
  • (insert your idea here... and get in touch!)

If you would like to collaborate with us on a project, please do not hesitate to contact the editor.

Copyright information and citation guide

All digital surrogates of works not held by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive are reproduced under license from the libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions which hold the originals and must not be reproduced without prior written permission. Unfortunately, ECPA is unable to provide that permission, nor can it provide images for re-use as the copyright holders may reserve the right to charge a fee. Please contact the relevant institution directly using the copyright information provided with every work in the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive.

Copyright in digital surrogates of works owned by ECPA, in the electronic texts, bibliographic information and markup, and the Website is with the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive. These works, including their XML source files, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. This license is intended to encourage and promote re-use and re-purposing of the collection as well as ultimately to ensure its long-term preservation.

All contributions to ECPA are submitted to the editor in the first instance for review. When accepted for publication, all contributions become licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. This license protects contributions, but at the same time lets others re-use and build upon them.

If you want to cite material from the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive in online or print publications, please feel free to copy and paste the information provided in the the MLA-style citation in the footer of each page.

Use and privacy policy

The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive is open access. All materials are made available under the license terms indicated above.

We use two external services which will store some small pieces of information on your computer in the form of cookies. We use AddThis to connect our Website to a number of Social Networking services and also to provide convenient access to sharing, printing, and e-mail options. And we use Google Analytics to provide us with a measure of the usage and impact of our site, and to inform any outreach activities. We only submit anonymized IP addresses to Google Analytics.


We would like to thank the Text Creation Partnership for their efforts to create and make available searchable digital editions of the books in the Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) corpus.

We would like to thank the staff of Imaging Services at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford for their expertise, advice and practical assistance in creating the digital images.

We would like to thank Zoomify, Inc. for the gift of the enterprise edition of the Zoomify software to ECPA.


The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive was founded and is edited by Alexander Huber, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford (ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-2151-6415). The Website was designed by Emma Huber, Taylor Institution Library, Oxford.

You can e-mail ECPA at info@eighteenthcenturypoetry.org or follow the editor on Twitter.

You can also write to ECPA at:

Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive
Alexander Huber, Editor
Bodleian Libraries
University of Oxford
Osney One Bldg., Osney Mead