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electronic ephemera

The John Johnson collection is widely recognised as one of the most important collections of printed ephemera in the world and generally regarded as the most significant single collection of ephemera in the UK. Containing 1.5 million items ranging in date from 1508 to 1939, it spans the entire range of printing and social history. It contains a high proportion of unique material which has remained hidden to researchers up until now and which will surface through this innovative digitisation project. By their very nature, many of the items contained in the John Johnson collection were intended to be short-lived and disposable, and it was only because of the vision and dedication of John de Monins Johnson and his supporters that so many have been preserved to provide the unique record that survives today. This innovative joint enterprise between the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford and ProQuest Information and Learning will result in the digitisation of more than 65,000 complete items (well in excess of 150,000 images) from the John Johnson Collection and so provide a unique insight into our nation's past. The collection offers direct access to rare primary source materials and evidence of our cultural, social, industrial, and technological histories. It is particularly valuable to anyone interested in the everyday lives of ordinary citizens. These lost treasures of everyday life will be digitised to the highest standards and made freely available to all teachers and researchers working in the UK's HE and FE sectors, and to the general population via the 32,000 supported terminals in the UK's 4,200 public libraries. Moreover, the rigorous and extensive metadata that will be specially created to accompany these digital objects will be searchable by anyone with access to the Internet. Until now, it has only been possible to make these materials available to a relatively small number of scholars owing to both geographical and physical constraints, and the fragility of many of the materials themselves which makes browsing the material a slow and often unwieldy process. The creation of expertly described, high-quality digital surrogates will expose these hidden resources to a far wider audience than could ever be achieved via any other means, and enable readers to find what they are looking for much more quickly and to work simultaneously on the same items. Project start date: 2007-01-01. Project end date: 2008-12-01. (Excerpt from this source)

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