Frequently Asked Questions

Any questions the answer to which you cannot find in the list below may be asked via the contact page

Contents

The EDBO website
Searching & finding
Using the list of results
Viewing & using the book
Technical questions
Terms of use
Contact

Answers

The EDBO website


  • What can I find on the website Early Dutch Books Online?
    Early Dutch Books Online provides full-text access to more than two million pages in 10,000 books originating from the Dutch-language area from the period 1781-1800, also referred to as 'Special Collections'.

  • What do you mean by 'Special Collections'?
    The term 'Special Collections' is used for very diverse material that is rare and valuable for any reason whatever, and is also often vulnerable. The material from the Special Collections is being kept in depots equipped with security systems and climate control. They are old, printed publications from various countries and in a wide array of languages. In addition to printed works, there is also a large collection of written materials in the libraries, varying from mediaeval manuscripts, later manuscripts, including scholars' and artists' archives, to over a million letters. Furthermore, there are collections of maps and atlases, prints, photographs, decorated paper, bindings and typographic materials.

  • What works have been selected for the online collection?
    Before the project started, several selection criteria were formulated. For example, eighteenth-century materials printed in the Netherlands were chosen because this is when the 'modern', Roman, type became predominant. Materials printed in Roman type are suited to OCR, which is why only books in Roman type are digitised. The project does not comprise the entire eighteenth century but is limited to 1781-1800, because publications were primarily printed in Roman type in that period. This was a choice based on the fact that, in so doing, not only the most works could be taken in hand, but also that it affords the greatest chance of successfully digitising the texts. The contents of the texts were therefore less of a consideration in the first selection process. Early Dutch Books Online focuses mainly on the 'regular books', consisting of historical, political, theological and literary works. See Selection criteria for more information.

  • Were specific books excluded from this online collection?
    For Early Dutch Books Online, a selection has been made of early prints from 1781-1800 using content-based and practical criteria. Books printed in Gothic type were not selected, because the character recognition of this typeface does not yet produce the desired results. See Selection criteria for more information.

  • What types of works can I find on the website?
    Early Dutch Books Online focuses mainly on the 'regular books', consisting of historical, political, theological and literary works. The following thematic clusters can be distinguished: History & Politics, Economy & Trade, Science & Ideas, Religion & Society, Daily Life & Education, Visual Arts, Literature & Drama , Dramaturgy and Musicology, Dialogues, and Genre Parodies. This has resulted in the number of digitised pages totalling over two million.

  • Does the database only contain books in Dutch?
    The emphasis lies on 'Dutch material', in other words, printed in the Netherlands or treating of the Netherlands. The Dutch language cannot be employed as a strict selection criterion, because Dutch was not the standard language for publications of that time; universities used Latin and French was spoken at the courts. That is why the project includes both Dutch and French materials. See the Selection criteria for more information.

  • What is the quality of the digitised texts?
    Good image quality produces the best OCR results. Character recognition is of utmost importance for properly making the materials available to the public. The better the character recognition, the more information the website visitor will be able to find. OCR in the Early Dutch Books Online project must confront a number of specific problems. For example, the spelling used in the period 1781-1800 was different and characters used at the time are no longer common now. The long 's' looked like an 'f'. The software does not recognise this letter as being an 's', but reads an 'f' instead.

  • Which organisations are responsible for this website?
    The project is a collaboration between the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and the University Libraries of Amsterdam and Leiden. These libraries possess a large number of similar and complementary Special Collections, which partially overlap where printed materials are concerned. Books from the Special Collections of these libraries have been digitised and are now searchable at word level.

  • Why was the EDBO website created?
    In late October 2005, the Special Collections departments of the UB UVA, UBL and KB launched the initiative for 'National Infrastructure for Making Special Collections Available Digitally'. This is a plan for an online library for the humanities consisting of completely digitised objects from the Special Collections of the institutions involved. By digitising the collections of these three libraries and, at a later stage, also those of other libraries and making them accessible to the public, a major corpus of otherwise hardly accessible texts is put at the disposal of academia and the field of education. Early Dutch Books Online is the first step towards creating this online library.

  • What makes the EDBO a particularly useful website for examining early books?
    Without source material, research in the humanities is unthinkable. Opening up these sources electronically adds to the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of research and offers opportunities for new forms of innovative research. Digitisation will help to bring scholarly breakthroughs within reach, but this does require large text corpora to be available. Early Dutch Books Online gives access to such large files.

  • Where can I view the physical copies of the books that can be read online and downloaded from the website?
    Holders of year passes of the participating libraries (UB, UVA, UBL and KB) can consult materials from the Special Collections, unless restrictive measures have been taken due to the condition or exceptional value of a specific item. Using an original signature, the material must be consulted in the designated Special Collections Reading Room.

  • Waar kan ik, van de boeken die online te lezen en downloaden zijn, de fysieke exemplaren inzien?
    Jaarpashouders van de deelnemende bibliotheken (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Universiteit Leiden en Koninklijke Bibliotheek) kunnen materiaal uit de Bijzondere Collecties raadplegen, tenzij er beperkende maatregelen zijn genomen vanwege de conditie of de uitzonderlijke kostbaarheid van het stuk. Met behulp van een origineel signatuur kan het materiaal worden geraadpleegd in de daarvoor bestemde Leeszaal Bijzondere Collecties. U vind de bezoekadressen van de leeszalen via de Contactpagina.

Searching & finding


  • How do I find a book?
    On the EDBO website, you can search the complete contents of early books from the period 1781-1800. A general search bar and advanced search will give you immediate access to these full-text files.

  • Can I search for a specific item in Early Dutch Books Online?
    It depends on what you mean by specific item. You can execute a full text search. This means searching at exact word level. You can search the metadata using the four most common entries via "Advanced Search".
    If you would like to search using more entries, you can visit STCN. This catalogue offers 21 different search keys.

  • I cannot find certain advanced search options. Why are these not available?
    Because of the size of the project budget, we decided for Early Dutch Books Online not to include the highly advanced search options available via STCN. The added value of this site lies in the option of being able to search the complete text of a work.

  • The user options offered by the website seem basic. Why is that?
    We understand that you might want more, better or different user options on the website. We decided to scan as many pages as possible based on the available budget. That is why we decided to launch a basic, yet usable, website in favour of more scanned pages. The user options will be gradually expanded in the near future.

  • I want to search by title, author, year or language. How do I do that?
    The window 'Advanced search' allows you to search by these fields. If you want to perform an even more advanced search for specific metadata, we refer you to the STCN-catalogue.

  • Can I search for books using the Hightlights carousel?
    You can't. The carousel exhibits a number of collection highlights selected by custodians involved in the project. You can only view these specific collection items in more detail. Other titles can be found by using the search bar or advanced search.

  • What was the basis for the books referred to in "Collection highlights"? Were these books recently acquired? Were they recently donated? Were they recently scanned? Are they by a well-known author?
    "The curator's selection": the curators chose these books from the three participating libraries. They made a selection from the most popular titles from the Special Collections.

  • I am looking for a printer/publisher or signature, how can I find it using the EDBO website?
    These details can be found at two locations on the website: 1) in the description below the title in the list of results (click on the 'plus icon') and 2) when the work is displayed, after selecting the tab 'Details of this object'.

  • I would like to search using subject headings. How can I do that?
    You can do this using the English subject headings used in the STCN. You can enter these in the search box on Early Dutch Books Online. This will generate a list of books related to the relevant subject. You can click on the "plus icon" beneath the author's name in the list of results. The subject words will be displayed in the field "Subject heading". When you use advanced search, you can search using subject headings in the field “Subject heading”. While typing, suggestions will appear that will help you on your way.

  • I would like to search only title pages, title prints or illustrations. Why is this option not offered?
    We understand that you would like to have these functionalities on the site. To facilitate this, we would have to go through every book page by page and label these types of pages manually. With 10,000 books on offer, this would be very laborious and therefore very costly. We decided to scan as many pages as possible based on the available budget.

  • If I use a Dutch word like "opstellen", I also want to see pages containing the word "opftellen", because I know that OCR software often reads the "long S" as an "f". Why is this option not available?
    This is because fuzzy searches are not possible at present. You will have to enter both variants separately.

  • If I use the search term "herder", I want to get hits for the plural "herders" as well. Why is this not possible?
    This is because fuzzy searches are not possible at present. You will have to enter both variants separately.

  • I don't see any explanation of how I can search and browse on the site, for example in the form of search demos or clips. Why is this not possible?
    We understand that you might prefer these types of tools. Based on our research of similar websites, however, these options are hardly used in practice. We decided to scan as many pages as possible based on the available budget. In order to be able to offer more electronic pages, we decided to launch a basic website without search demos or instruction clips.

  • I would like to check in STCN if a title is available as full text in Early Dutch Books Online. Is this possible? If so, how?
    A record in STCN may contain the field "URL". For books available on Early Dutch Books Online, that field contains a link to the full text.

  • Can the books available on Early Dutch Books Online also be accessed via The European Library and Europeana?
    We are currently hard at work to make these books available via The European Library and Europeana as well. It will not yet be possible to search the books at word level using these services. For now, this is only possible via Early Dutch Books Online.

Using the list of results


  • Can it be that the word I enter is not always visible in the description of the book?
    Yes, that can the case. You may not find your search word in the description, but this does not mean that the word cannot be found in the text of the book itself. If you click on the book title, you will see a page on which your search term is highlighted in blue.

  • How do I change the results list from list to gallery, or vice versa?
    The results page contains two blue icons at the right-top-hand side of the page: click the left icon to view the results in a list and the right icon to view them in a gallery.

  • In the gallery view of the search results, I cannot click on the images to see the entire book. I can only click on the titles below the images. It is not very user friendly. Why was this chosen?
    We understand that you might prefer a different option. We considered the option of enabling the images as well. We are currently investigating our users' opinions on the functionality offered. We will make a definitive choice based on their feedback. You can send us your feedback using via Contact page.

  • How do I bookmark a title/result?
    First click the Bookmark & Share icon. In the pop-up menu select the first option (Bookmark).

  • How do I place a title/result in Delicious?
    First click the Bookmark & Share icon. In the pop-up menu select the second option (Delicious)

  • I use Facebook. How can I share parts of the site with my friends?
    This is possible at three levels
    1. Share a list of books: Click on the Facebook icon at the top right corner of the list (or thumbnail gallery) of hits.
    2. Share a book: In the list of search results, click on the Bookmark & Share icon located to the right of the book title. Next, select the Facebook icon to share the URL for the book.
    3. Share a page from a book: In the page display, click on the Bookmark & Share icon located at the top right corner of the scanned book page. Next, select the Facebook icon to share the URL for the relevant page.

  • How do I place a title/result on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook or Hyves?
    First click the Bookmark & Share icon. In the pop-up menu select the third, fourth, fifth or sixth option (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook of Hyves)

  • How do I send a title by e-mail?
    First click the Bookmark & Share icon. In the pop-up menu select the last option (Email).

  • How do I download a book as PDF?
    For this you have two options: by clicking on the blue download-icon, or via the red PDF-icon. Both icons are displayed on the right of the search results. In both cases you download the full book as PDF.

  • How do I download the text version of a book?
    For this you have to select the text itself and copy/paste it into a Word-file.

Viewing & using the book


  • How do I search inside a book?
    Click on the desired result in the list of results. This will take you to the page that displays the first page of the book in a large screen. The navigation column is located at the left-hand side of the page. It allows easy navigation between the pages that contain the search term you entered. If you want to search the book for other words than the search term you entered, you can download the book as a PDF and then search within the PDF.

  • Why does the text from my document not correspond to the variant displayed on the website?
    Good image quality produces the best OCR results. Character recognition is of the utmost importance for properly making the materials available to the public. The better the character recognition, the more information the website visitor will be able to find. OCR in the Early Dutch Books Online project faces a number of specific problems. For example, the spelling used in the period 1781-1800 was different and characters used at the time are no longer common now. The long 's' looked like an 'f'. The software does not recognise this letter as being an 's', but reads an 'f' instead.

  • When I download a PDF file, I notice that the metadata fields (author, title, etc.) are empty in the document properties. Why is this?
    It was a strategic decision to scan as many pages as possible using the available budget. Because adding metadata to a PDF file costs more, we decided not to do this in order to be able to offer more scanned pages.

  • I would like to see thumbnails of all pages in a book using in one go. Is this possible?
    This is currently not possible. You can, however, download the entire book in PDF format in order to familiarise yourself with the book (e.g. locating a subsequent chapter, all illustrations, the table of contents, any comments by users, etc.).

  • Is it possible to download an entire book in one go?
    If you are referring to the plain, OCR text, this is not possible at the moment. You can only download this page by page. You can, however, download the entire book as a PDF file and convert that to a plain text file.

  • I would like to download the text of a number of books in one go as a ZIP file. Is this possible?
    At present, this is not possible for either the plain OCR text or the text in PDF format.

  • I would like to bookmark a book or a page of a book. How can I do that?
    • For a book: In the list of search results, click on the Bookmark & Share icon that is displayed next to the title. Next, click on the top "Bookmark" option to save the URL for this book in your browser's Bookmarks or Favourites. You can use the other options in the Bookmark & Share menu to send the book's URL to your e-mail address or Twitter, for example.
    • For a specific page: When a page is displayed, click on the Bookmark & Share icon located at the top right corner of the page. Next, select the top "Bookmark" option to save the URL for this page in your browser's Bookmark or Favourites. Using the other options in the Bookmark & Share menu, you can send the URL of the page to your e-mail address or Twitter account.

  • I am surprised that when I open a book, I am directed to page 58, for example, one time, and page 12 the next. Why is this?
    When you open the book, you will automatically be taken to the page on which your search term first appears. The page to which you are directed depends on your search term, so this may be page 58 one time and page 12 the next. The search term is highlighted in blue.

  • I can currently download the entire book in PDF format, but I actually only want a portion of the book, say, five pages. Why is this option not offered?
    This is related to the capacity of the server used to run the website. It costs a great deal of time, relatively speaking, to generate a PDF file containing selected pages on-the-fly. This is not the case for PDFs of an entire book, as these are readily stored on the server. If the server capacity is expanded, it will be possible to download passages from books in PDF format.

  • The page numbering of the book on the website is different from the page numbering in the book's table of contents. This can make it difficulte to search for a particular page. Is there any way to remedy this?
    When the books were scanned, the cover, the inside of the cover, the title page and the subsequent pages at the beginning of the book were counted as separate pages. As a result, page with number one in the book may appear as page 13 on the website. It is possible to correct this, it would require us to go through nearly 10,000 books manually. Because of our limited budget this was however not financially feasible.

Technical questions


  • The display of the homepage is very large. I have to use the horizontal scroll bar to go from left to right every time. Why is this?
    The website was built for a resolution of 1280 pixels wide. You may be using a screen with a lower resolution.

  • What browser should I use to view the EDBO website?
    In principle, the EDBO website has been built to work well in all browsers, both on PCs and Macs. Should you nevertheless experience irregularities, for example in the layout, please let us know via the Contact page.

  • I get an error message when I enter a query. What should I do now? Why does this happen?
    Try again by entering another search word. If you still repeatedly receive error messages, please contact us via the Contact page

  • When reading a document, I found out that a number of pages were missing. How can I still obtain these pages and where can I report this?
    please contact us via the Contact page and try to be as specific as possible in describing what pages are missing.

Terms of use


  • I would like to use extracts from a book for my thesis. Am I allowed to do so?
    Yes, you are allowed to do so. All our books are public domain and thus free of copyright. You are allowed to copy, change, distribute and perform the books without permission, even for commercial purposes. See our Terms of use .

  • How do I refer to the different sources of information in my list of sources?
    According to our Terms of use your reference must mention:
    - information concerning the book, among which (if known): author, title, year of publication
    - the library who owns the book
    - this website, as the source from which the material was taken.

    You can find the author, title, year of publication and originating library in the full record view, or under the tab "Details of this object".

Contact


  • How do I report errors I detect on the website, such as missing book pages?
    please contact us via the Contact page and try to be as specific as possible in describing the error you found.

  • I know of another website that may be very useful to users of this website. How do I inform you of that website?
    Please report it to us via the Contact page.