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Historical E-Book/Digital Collections at the OSU Library: Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO)

This guide will cover how to search the early e-book collections from the OSU Library for students and researchers in English/American literature, history, and other related fields

About Nineteenth Century Collections Online

Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) is a digital archive of books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, photographs, letters, diaries, and other primary documents for the study of the history, literature, arts, culture, politics, and society of Great Britain, the United States, Europe, and other areas of the globe during the "long" nineteenth century (late 1700s through the early twentieth century).  It is a growing databased of different thematic archives consisting of digital collections of papers and other documents.  It is of great value to historians and all who study the life and times of the 1800s.

The four big thematic archives in NCCO include

  • Asia and the West documents the diplomatic, political, and cultural exchanges between the East and West in the nineteenth century, particularly the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands with Japan, China, and the East Indies.  This archive records the often tense and culturally volatile relations between Asia and the Western powers that opened up trade routes and new avenues of foreign relations. US Diplomatic and Consular Records, British Foreign Office records, and missionary journals and correspondence form the various collections in this thematic module.
  • British Politics and Society presents materials that enable in-depth examination and analysis of the growing calls for political reform that were met with state resistance and marked a crisis of legitimacy for both the government and the reform movements themselves.  The documents in this archive consider these political issues in the form of personalities, events, and institutions.  Includes Home Office records, cabinet papers, documents related to the working class and labour unions.  It even includes collections such as the Jack the Ripper letters in the Metropolitan Police's case file.
  • British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture features a wide range of primary sources related to the arts in the Victorian era, from playbills and scripts to operas and complete scores. These rare documents, many of them never before available, were sourced from the British Library and other renowned institutions, and curated by experts in British arts history. Covering more than a century, British Theatre, Music, and Literature is without equal as a resource for 19th century scholars.  It contains playbills, program books, and records of the Royal Theatre, Drury Lane and handwritten musical scores from the Royal Philharmonic Society.
  • European Literature 1790-1840: The Corvey Collection includes the full-text of more than 9,500 English, French and German titles. The collection is sourced from the remarkable library of Victor Amadeus, whose Castle Corvey collection of 3,250 volumes of novels, poetry, and other literary works (many by women) was one of the most spectacular discoveries of the late 1970s. The Corvey Collection comprises one of the most important collections of Romantic era writing in existence anywhere – including fiction, short prose, dramatic works, poetry and more – with a focus on especially difficult-to-find works by lesser-known, historically neglected writers.

Additional archives on different themes/topics will be added in the future.

Exploring/Searching NCCO

  • Exploring (Browsing) NCCO

NCCO lets you explore (browse) the collections in the archives, or explore all the collections in the database.  Users can click on the image for one of the individual archives; they have one or sometimes many collections of digital documents in them.  Clicking on the image for the separate collections then lets the use browse all the digital documents contained in that collection.

When viewing a collection in NCCO, there is an Overview section detailing what materials are in the collection, and a collection facts page with information on the date range, number and type of documents in the collection, the languages, and the source institution from in which the material is housed.  Users can click on the images of documents to view them.

  • Searching NCCO

The (basic) search box on the NCCO page lets the user search for keyword(s) in one or all of the archives.  NCCO suggests possible keyword combinations.

The Advanced Search page (click on the link under the Search button on the home page) lets you add multiple rows, search for keywords anywhere in the record, in the full text of the document ("entire document"), in document titles, authors, subjects, places of publication, etc.  It lets users limit to documents with images or to documents in specific archives.  Additional limits include Content Type, Publication Date, Document Type, Language, Collection, Publication Title, or Source Library.

NCCO Results

When viewing one of the digital documents in the search results, the user can page through the document, change the magnification, add annotations (after creating a free account with NCCO), and on the right view relevant pages where the keyword(s) occur as well as a box to search for keyword(s) within the text.  The Download link allows users to view a PDF of the one page or of the whole document; users can also download a plain text transcription of the document made with optical character recognition (OCR) software (note that it occasionally has trouble rendering certain fonts or characters).  The Citation Tools download citations in MLA or APA style, and can export the citation to bibliographic management software such as EndNote.