Repurposing Digital Research Archives


Brief Description

This project developed a set of resources designed for use by lecturers interested in using digital text archives in their teaching.


Digital text archives are playing an increasingly important part in teaching and research in HE English departments. Resources such as EEBO (Early English Books Online), ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online) and LION (Literature Online) have massively increased the availability to both staff and students of thousands of primary resources. The electronic nature of the archives, meanwhile, means that users can search, analyse and manipulate texts in many different ways. To date, however, HE English teaching has been slow to exploit the full potential of digital text archives. The aim of this project was to gather information about ways in which this potential could be realised and to create resources on the topic that would be helpful for lecturers.

Project Design

At Sheffield Hallam, Matthew Steggle supervised the production of a suite of exercises introducing students to EEBO (Early English Books Online). At the Subject Centre, Jonathan Gibson produced materials-on teaching with digital texts, including web pages, a video of a seminar using digital technology, case studies and entries in the Subject Centre’s ‘T3’ database of teaching tips.

Key Outcomes

A set of resources–designed to be fully integrated into the English Subject Centre website–on teaching with digital texts, was developed especially to meet the needs of English lecturers. The project revealed that takeup in this area is still sluggish in English departments. Good practice exists in much English Language teaching.

Project Leaders

Matthew Steggle
Sheffield Hallam University

Jonathan Gibson
English Subject Centre


Completed 2007