Jisc Historical Texts

Jisc Collections has invested over £6 million in historic text content on behalf of the UK Higher and Further Education community. This content is provided by Jisc Collections to the research and education sector through the Jisc Historical Texts service which brings together three historically significant collections: Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and 65,000 texts from the British Library 19th Century collection.

In November 2013 Knowledge Integration was commissioned to redevelop the then "Jisc Historic Books" service with partners Gooii and Sero Consulting. We worked closely with project stakeholders: Jisc Collections, the team at Mimas who run the current service, and the user community; to redesign and deliver the new Historical Texts service from April 2014.

The aims of the project were to:

  • Support innovation and enable users of the content to exploit the full potential of the content using new technologies
  • Support teaching and learning. The service must support new users or non-expert users who are unfamiliar with historic book content and need simple methods of achieving useful results
  • Enable the team at Mimas to take control of the user interface and to continue the development of the service without reliance on third parties
  • Ensure that the service can be run efficiently, at low cost, and that future development costs are affordable
  • Consider the expectations and needs of the user community

Our solution is based on our existing CIIM software platform with adapters written for the specific project data types, data sources and external system interfaces. The configurable nature of our solution means that it more than fulfils the current requirements of the project, whilst providing an extensible framework to process growing data sets and to support future technologies and user requirements.

Since the first release of the redeveloped service in 2014 we have worked with the project consortium to extend and enhance the service. Current development work is centered around the integration of alternative search, browse and display modes in the form of "visualisations", and improving searching against variant spellings.