FBTEE in Russian

A couple of years ago, I was invited to submit a piece to the Annuaire d’études françaises, for a special edition to mark the 225th anniversary of the French Revolution, to be edited by Alexandre Tchoudinov et Dmitri Bovykine. And as a free bonus they have even translated it into Russian. For those of you who missed it, the title is ‘БИБЛИОМЕТРИЯ, ПОПУЛЯРНОЕ ЧТЕНИЕ И ЛИТЕРАТУРНОЕ ПОЛЕ ИЗДАТЕЛЯ ЭПОХИ ПРОСВЕЩЕНИЯ’ and my name has been rendered in Russian as Саймон Барроуз. I think that must be right, but as my name has been mistranscribed in English in the table of contents as Sidney Burrows, I’m not quite sure. Ironically, I was indeed nearly named Sidney, as my mother is a primary teacher and felt that it would help me to write my name by the time I went to school if it was composed of the three very different letter shapes S-I-D. And for those more interested in the article, its original English title was ‘Bibliometrics, Popular Reading, and the Literary Field of an Enlightenment Publisher’. I suspect that sounds better in Russian!

Research Associate positions with FBTEE

We are pleased to announce that two Research Associate positions in Digital Humanities are currently available with FBTEE’s new Australian Research Council-funded Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment project at Western Sydney University.

The successful applicants will work on either:

(1) a sub-project lasting 24 months entitled: ‘The Illegal Book Trade Revisited’. The role will involve in interpreting, recording and analysing a wide range of statistical materials on the illegal book trade; editing and standardisation of digital research data; and taxonomic classification of books (Position Ref 2228/15).

(2) a sub-project lasting 18 months entitled: ‘Mapping the French Novel: An Experiment in Academic Crowd-Sourcing’. The role will include designing and leading a six-month experiment in crowd-sourcing; identification and digital curation of key sources; editing and standardisation of digital research data; taxonomic classification of books; and data entry and data analysis. (Position Ref 2227/15)

The successful applicants will also participate in the project’s programme of workshops, symposia and international conferences, both in speaking and organisational roles. They will also contribute to the publication of digital and traditional research outputs. These will include both individual and team outputs.

There is a possibility of a relocation package as per the university’s relocation policy.

Full advertisements and further particulars are available at the University’s recruitment page at http://www.westernsydney.edu.au/employment/home/current_vacancies

The positions have been advertised on various academic listservs and recruitment sites. Applications close on 30 January 2016.

NB. Anyone wishing to apply for both posts needs to complete a separate application for each position.


FBTEE greets the Prime Minister

FBTEE and Western Sydney featured prominently in a major exhibition on the Digital Humanities put on at the CHASS (Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) 2015 National Forum in Melbourne this month, and opened by no lesser person than the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull.

Of the 24 projects from around Australia featuring on exhibition boards, no less than nine featured projects from Western Sydney University, confirming the status of Western Sydney’s Digital Humanities Research Group status as a premier national DH research cluster.

For more on our activities and feature projects, consult the DHRG website.


FBTEE 2.0 – ARC award

We are pleased to announce that the FBTEE project has received a major award in the Australian Research Council’s 2016 Discovery Project round, the results of which were announced today. We are grateful to the ARC and Western Sydney University for their support of this project.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be overhauling our website to reveal all that we have been doing with the project over the last three years at Western Sydney, as well as details of the new datasets we hope to publish over the next two to three years.

When we published FBTEE-1.0 in 2012, the FBTEE database contained data on around 450,000 copies of 3,600 works. The work conducted over the last three years has added data on around 3,500,000 copies of several thousand more, and by the end of 2017 we hope to have added data on at least 1,500,000 more.

So watch this space as we search for the forgotten bestsellers of pre-revolutionary France

Louise Seaward article success

Warmest congratulations to Louise Seaward for being named runner up in the prize competition for the best article by a younger scholar in the journal French History for her article ‘Censorship through cooperation: the Société typographique de Neuchâtel (STN) and the French Government, 1769–89’, French History (2014) 28 (1): 23-42.doi: 10.1093/fh/crt086. This is the second time a FBTEE-related piece has secured the approval of the judges, following Mark Curran’s win in 2011 with ‘Mettons toujours Londres’. Louise’s article is actually the fruit of the earliest piece of research to be run through and alongside the FBTEE database, which she mined to identify political figures in correspondence with the STN and locate he letters they exchanged with the Swiss publishers. Supplementing and extending Bob Darnton’s work on the publishing history of the Encyclopedie, Louise’s article reveals the symbiotic relationship between the STN and the French government and the extent to which dealing in foreign book markets involved political as well as commercial skills.

In addition, Louise is celebrating a new job with UCL’s Bentham project, having put in a stint as a contracted research assistant with FBTEE in 2014-2015. More on that in a future post.

FBTEE milestones

Sometime in the next couple of hours the FBTEE database will welcome its 10,000th user of all time – thanks to Google Analytics for helping us to identify and celebrate this not so milestone. Since our launch on 25 June 2012, those users have clocked up almost 13,700 visits and a staggering 70,000 searches (page views).

To celebrate this milestone we will, over the next few days, make a series of announcements about latest publications, activities, career developments and the first datasets we are preparing as the first stage of our FBTEE-2.0 upgrade project. A website upgrade will accompany them over the next few months, so watch this space.

New hosting arrangments for FBTEE

The following announcement has just gone out on key Listservs in English and French.

I am pleased to announce to users that ‘The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe’ (FBTEE) project and database are now owned and hosted by the University of Western Sydney (UWS).

 Described by Robert Darnton as ‘a prodigious achievement and a joy to use’ and by Jeremy Caradonna as ‘one of the best and most cutting-edge digital tools that scholars of early modernity now possess’, the database has now been accessed by more than 6,500 researchers around the world.
The new URL for the database is http://fbtee.uws.edu.au/stn/interface/
The new URL for the website home page is http://fbtee.uws.edu.au
And the URL for the official project news blog is now at: https://frenchbooktrade.wordpress.com/
Please could users up date any references, hyperlinks or bookmarks to the project accordingly. If you use the resource in teaching, you might want to inform your students, too.
For ease of management and to make the website more friendly to a range of hand-held devices the website is now run on WordPress, so the look, structure and feel of the site are a little different.
Please note also that the User licence has now been changed. The main significant changes include that UWS is the new owner; that there are new URLs to be used in citations; and that the law governing the licence is now that of New South Wales.
For the next year or so there will be an automatic forwarding arrangement for web traffic from Leeds, but at some stage this will cease to operate.
As leader of the FBTEE project, I am grateful to the University of Leeds for agreeing to transfer the project website, database and IP to UWS. This will immensely facilitate ongoing work on the project.
I also wish to express my gratitude to Vincent Hiribarren, Jason Ensor and Andrew Leahy for all their work ensuring the successful transfer of the website, resources and database created by the project.
For further information on the project as it develops, please watch the project blog.

J’ai le plaisir de vous annoncer que le projet « Le commerce des livres français dans l’Europe des Lumières » (‘The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe’ – FBTEE) et sa base de données sont maintenant la propriété de l’Université de Western Sydney (UWS) qui a choisi d’héberger nos sites web.

Décrite par Robert Darnton comme « une prouesse extraordinaire et un plaisir à utiliser » et par Jeremy Caradonna comme « l’un des meilleurs outils numériques de pointe que les chercheurs de l’époque moderne puissent employer », notre base de données a été utilisée par plus de 6 500 chercheurs à travers le monde.

Le nouvel URL de la base de données est http://fbtee.uws.edu.au/stn/interface/

Le nouvel URL pour notre site web est http://fbtee.uws.edu.au

Enfin, l’URL pour le blog donnant les dernières nouvelles du projet est : https://frenchbooktrade.wordpress.com/

Pouvez-vous mettre à jour vos références, hyperliens ou liens favoris, s’il vous plait ? Si vous utilisez cette base de données dans vos cours, il serait préférable, de la même manière, que vous en informiez vos étudiants.

Pour faciliter sa gestion et rendre le site plus compatible avec les appareils mobiles, le site web est maintenant sous WordPress ceci expliquant les modifications mineures d’ordre esthétique ou structurel du site.

Veuillez noter que les conditions générales d’utilisation sont maintenant modifiées. Les données sont toujours opensource mais les principaux changements sont que UWS est le nouveau propriétaire du projet ; que par conséquent, de nouveaux URLs doivent être utilisés pour les citations ; et que les lois régissant ces conditions d’utilisation sont celles de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud.

Jusqu’a la fin de cette année, le trafic venant de Leeds sera redirigé automatiquement vers notre nouvelle adresse. Cet arrangement prendra fin l’an prochain.

En tant que directeur de recherches pour le projet FBTEE, je suis reconnaissant à l’Université de Leeds d’avoir bien voulu accepter de transférer le site web, la base de données et la propriété intellectuelle à UWS. Cet accord facilitera notre futur travail sur le projet.

J’aimerais aussi exprimer ma gratitude à Vincent Hiribarren, Jason Ensor et Andrew Leahy pour tout leur travail pour le transfert du site, ses ressources ainsi que la base de données créées par le projet.

Pour de plus amples informations, n’hésitez pas à consulter le blog du projet.


Simon Burrows

FBTEE: the Vital Statistics

We’re preparing for various announcements over the next couple of weeks at the UWS FBTEE headquarters. So while we are waiting we have decided to release some FBTEE use statistics. According to my friends at google analytics, the FBTEE database has now had 6,553 unique visitors notch up 8,807 visits since going live on 25 June 2012. Altogether those visitors have notched up an astonishing 44,657 page views. So, even allowing for a few confused teenage bogans on random hunts for images of dogs on skateboards (there are none here, my friends); or the odd zombie web-crawler; or my daughter showing her friends my ‘dotty maps’, that suggests a fair bit of traffic and some serious in-depth research on the site. In the same period, the project website has notched up 4,058 unique visitors making 6,086 visits, but then it has been around for a little longer. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I rather love my statistics and tables. This is rather unusual in a historian of my generation, but it is probably also why I dreamed up the ‘French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe’ project in the first place. Happy number crunching – Simon

Latest publication

I am delighted to announce the appearance of Louise Seaward’s first article, ‘Censorship through Cooperation: The Société typographique de Neuchâtel (STN) and the French Government, 1769-1789’, French History 2013; doi: 10.1093/fh/crt086. Dr Seaward was the first person to draw on and road test the FBTEE database for research data during her MA and PhD at the University of Leeds, so it is great to see the fruit of her wider researches in print. A further article is due to appear in European History Quarterly very soon. Congratulations, Louise.