Think it would be cool to be able to access books printed before 1700?

Now you can.

Students and faculty can now browse, read, mark up, download and mine thousands of texts originally printed from 1473 to 1700 in the United Kingdom and elsewhere using the Early English Books Online (EEBO) database that's now available through OSU Libraries. 

Access to the Early English Books Online collection is as easy as typing “EEBO” in the search box on the Libraries homepage at and logging in with your OSU password. 

From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare, this incomparable collection contains more than 130,000 titles and more than 17 million scanned pages. Scholars have long treasured this collection, and now it’s accessible online. 

“I am thrilled that we are finally able to offer EEBO to the faculty and students of Oregon State University,” says Laurel Kristick, Collection Assessment and Science Librarian at OSU Libraries. “We‘ve been working on this for almost a decade and finally had the donor funds we needed to purchase it.” 

The EEBO database now contains page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473–1700. In addition to English, EEBO covers more than 30 languages from Algonquin to Welsh. More than 200 libraries worldwide have contributed to the EEBO collection. 

The content covers science, literature, philosophy, politics, religion, geography and all other areas of human endeavor, including topics from sword fighting to witchcraft and gardening manuals. The collections have been most widely used by scholars of English, linguistics and history, although these resources also include core texts in art, women’s studies, the history of science, education, religious studies, math, law and music. 

The following are but a small sampling of the authors whose works are included: Erasmus, Shakespeare, King James I, Marlowe, Galileo, Caxton, Chaucer, Malory, Boyle, Newton, Locke, More, Milton, Spenser, Bacon, Donne, Hobbes, Purcell, Behn and Defoe.

Besides browsing and reading through these early English books, users can search through the entire corpus. Searching for keywords and themes is possible because the text has been encoded with Extensible Markup Language (XML). To accompany the page images, accurate transcriptions have been created of many thousands of the works in order to aid researchers of all levels.

Posted - May 19, 2017