Editors’ Choice: The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe

The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe project uses database technology to map the trade of the Société Typographique de Neuchâtel (STN), a celebrated Swiss publishing house that operated between 1769 and 1794.

As the STN sold the works of other publishers alongside its own editions, their archives can be considered a representative source for studying the history of the book trade and dissemination of ideas in the late Enlightenment.

Using state of the art database, web interface and GIS technology, the project provides a user-friendly resource for use by scholars, teachers and students of French literature and history, book history, the Enlightenment and bibliography more generally.

This resource was publicly launched on 25 June 2012 and is freely available on this website. The drop down ‘Help and Resources’ menu inside the data interface contains a user guide and various other tools to help users orientate themselves (Designer notes, Lists of Abbreviations and Manuscript Sources, Database totals, Visualisations and Videos, Designer Credits etc.). Video instructional and walkthrough materials are also available from the menu at the top-left of this page.

In addition, this website gives an overview of the project more generally and some of the uses of the database. For more information, click on the links to the left to browse further information, or go to the Site Map to find a particular page directly.

The project was supported by a four-year grant of £355,485 from the British Arts and Humanities Research Council awarded to Professor Simon Burrows (University of Leeds).  It was conceived as the first phase of a wider initiative to electronically map various other aspects of the book trade across eighteenth-century Europe and beyond.

As the database structure is ideally constituted for other studies of the production, distribution and dissemination and reception of printed works, there are plans for adapting it for use by other scholars as a platform and portal for further work on the book trade.  For latest information on the project and future plans to develop the database into a platform for other researchers, consult the project blog at: frenchbooktrade.wordpress.com.

Visit the French Book Trade Here

This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: