FW: Announcing the launch of REED Online

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FW: Announcing the launch of REED Online

James Cummings-4



The Records of Early English Drama (REED) project is delighted to
announce the launch of /REED Online/
(http://ereed.library.utoronto.ca), its new open-access website.
The site features REED's first digital edition of dramatic
records for the county of Staffordshire, encoded in TEI. Easily
searched with a number of useful filters, online records appear
conveniently on the same page as their translations, document
descriptions, and any glosses or related endnotes. GIS mapping
based on the /Patrons and Performances/ map of historic county
boundaries and main roads illuminates significant details
further. For students and those new to records research, search
tips, an introduction to the research process, and an anatomy of
a sample record provide a welcoming guide.

The /Staffordshire/ records, edited by J.A.B. Somerset, are found
in scattered collections, but they yield fascinating glimpses of
early social and economic history through accounts of public
performances, social occasions, royal welcomes, folk customs, and
professional entertainments. A few examples highlight the
richness of the collection, which includes two royal visits – by
Queen Elizabeth in 1576 and, more extensively, King James I in
1615. The records of Tutbury, whose castle was a major
administrative centre for the household of John of Gaunt, show us
from 1380 a flourishing Minstrel Court while the accounts of
Burton Manor, home to Thomas, Lord Paget reveal an Elizabethan
household filled with music, playing, and revels. By contrast,
Newcastle under Lyme sources record evidence of implacable hatred
of players, levying large fines upon persons who allowed playing,
and firing the town constable for turning a blind eye. For those
interested in tracking the itineraries of professional troupes
across the kingdom, new details of performance troupes visiting
Stafford and Walsall as well as the private residences of
Beaudesert, Blithfield, and Burton will be important.

/Staffordshire/ is REED's pilot digital publication, with more
collections forthcoming on the same website to enable easy
cross-collection searching. As REED begins planning for the
production of the next collection for the county of Berkshire,
the integration of /Patrons and Performances/ data, and the
further development of /REED Online/, it welcomes all comments
and suggestions from users. Please send any feedback to REED’s
project manager, Carolyn Black, at [hidden email].

REED gives special thanks to the Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council of Canada for a Connection grant that has made
possible development of our digital publishing framework for
/REED Online/.

Dr James Cummings,[hidden email]  
Academic IT Services, University of Oxford