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Connected Histories: British History Sources, 1500-1900

A new index created by the University of Hertfordshire, the University of London, and the University of Sheffield and made available by the Institute of Historical Research is a remarkable free resource and suggests some of the ways that historical digital collections may develop.

Connected Histories: British History Sources, 1500-1900, indexes a number of free and subscription resources on British history.  It allows structured searching in millions of pages of digitized text and images.  Currently, the following resources are indexed:

The first update, scheduled for September, will include 65,000 British Library books from the Historic Books Platform, 19th century pamphlets from JSTOR, and abstracts of wills from The National Archives.

The project used natural language processing to identify names, places and dates in unstructured texts, and combined these with structured databases to create a single resource searchable by names, places and dates, as well as by keywords and phrases. Users can save results in their own workspace and document connections between sources.

Connected Histories can be found at <http://www.connectedhistories.org/>.  Here is a brief video introduction to the resource:

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