Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about Electronic Enlightenment.

What is EE?

EE is an online resource which links correspondence among writers from the early modern period. It was built and continues to be developed by the Electronic Enlightenment Project, a research team at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Oxford University Press distribute EE as part of their Online Products & Publishing program.

Who is EE for?

EE is for anyone interested in exploring the early modern period through the correspondence and primary documents of the time. It has been designed to make you feel at home, whether you are an academic wishing to become involved in new research or a student writing a paper.

When did EE start?

The resource has been in development for about 10 years, and was first made available to subscribers in August 2008. For information on how to subscribe see Subscriber services.

Who created EE?

EE was conceived by the Project Director, Dr Robert McNamee, based on the rich correspondence resources of the Voltaire Foundation, University of Oxford. Generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supported development of the project; further assistance was provided by the Florence Gould Foundation and the Voltaire Foundation.

What is the scope of EE?

Most of the material currently in EE comes from the early modern period — which is rich in surviving documents — and Europe and North America, but this range is set to expand both chronologically and geographically. Letters currently in EE extend from the early 17th to the mid-19th century, and come from North and South America, Europe and the Far East.

How is content determined?

Content was selected from an initial wish-list of editions considered "key" in terms of the correspondents. Academic presses worldwide were approached regarding inclusion of these editions and content prioritized as a result. EE has an extensive list of material still to be included, but we are always interested to hear from potential contributors, particularly with regard to unpublished letters. Please if you are interested in supplying content for EE.

How large is EE?

As of our Spring 2024 update, EE provided access to 79,254 letters and documents written or received by 10,232 correspondents. Additional content is being added regularly.

Why are letters displayed individually rather than as in the original print edition?

EE is designed to be a collection of individual letters rather than a number of separate editions. By linking its content in this way, it allows you to make your own connections between letters and correspondents. However, you can use the print reference to find an individual letter by reference to the printed edition, or to find all letters within a particular edition. Information on the EE base text is displayed alongside each letter.

How do I find a letter?

The easiest way to find letters is through browse, which provides a complete list of all the letters, sorted chronologically. You can also use the letter search page to find letters by writer or recipient, date or place of writing, language or words or phrases within the text of the letter.

Can I find information about a correspondent?

Each correspondent has their own life page, including basic facts about them and their letters in EE together with a biographical note and lists of their correspondents and letters to and from them. You can find a person's life page by browsing or by searching in the life search page, or through a direct link from each letter.

How will EE develop in the future?

Additional content is added each year: updates will include both original print editions and previously unpublished letters. The functionality of EE will also be expanded; we are constantly reviewing developments in online database technology to see how EE can be further enriched. See the overview and the news-sheet for further information.

How do I access EE? Can I get a free trial?

EE is available through institutional or personal subscription. Institutional free trials are available through Oxford University Press. For more information see logging in and subscriber services.

How can I become involved in EE?

We are delighted to give our online community of EE users the opportunity to help EE to grow by updating information from our editions or by publishing newly edited letters through EE. For more information see contributor services.

Does EE exist as a print, CD or DVD publication?

EE exists only as an online resource — a "living" and growing interlinked collection of letters and correspondents. Individual editions that have contributed content to EE may be available from contributing presses.