New content added in past few weeks

Here’s an overview of the new content added in the past few weeks. Two collections are of particular note: the Lloyd’s List for 1812, via, and the Dyal Ship Collection. One man, Michael Dun, has digitized and indexed all of the issues of Lloyd’s List for the entire year of 1812. It’s quite a feat. He’s indexed all of the ships and all of the masters for that time, adding up to nearly 26,000 ship citations in all the issues of Lloyd’s List for 1812. He kindly shared his index with me, so I could include links to his resources. Mr. Dun hosts the pages on his servers, and they are accessible to all via that site. While working through the index of ship names that he provided to me, I was able to identify a number of corrections, and I incorporated those into the file I imported.

Working through this file was also an interesting reminder about the challenges we face in trying to make the most of these primary sources. Clearly, the folks who were putting together each issue of Lloyd’s List (it usually came out twice a week, and was published in London) were trying to get information out as quickly as possible, and weren’t too concerned with absolute accuracy, to say nothing of how researchers two centuries later would like them to present information.

As a few examples, each of the following slight spelling variations by the editors are likely the same ship: Misletoe, Misseltoe, and Missletoe (there’s no Mistletoe listed in this year of Lloyd’s!). Or, Nymph, Nymphe, and Nymphen. Or Powhatan, Powahattan, and Powhatton. Or Zenophon and Zenophen, when the proper spelling is Xenophon. Or Tinmouth Castle, most  likely meaning Teignmouth Castle. Or simple errors, like Hepsa instead of Hespa.

Of course, if you’re reading this at a London coffee shop one morning in 1812, you can easily look over these minor errors, and figure out what the editors’ intent was. But for researchers two centuries later, who are trying to mine large amounts of data to see what they can find, these errors cause a problem. So how do we address them? That’s an issue for an upcoming blog post. But, needless to say, we at have a solution…

Another interesting addition is the Dyal Ship Collection, but for very different reasons. This is a collection of images and data compiled by a researcher (in this case, a librarian) and added to his institution’s “institutional repository” (IR). An IR is a site, usually maintained by an academic library, where content generated by the institution’s faculty, staff, and students is made available for free. It is, in a large sense, a reaction to the high cost of many academic journals, where an institution’s researchers spend time and money doing and compiling research, then pay to have that published in a scholarly journal, then the institution pays to buy the results back, through a subscription to the journal. The whole discussion is beyond the scope of this blog post, but the point is that IRs are places where interesting and useful information can be stored — but it’s most often quite hidden, unless there’s some effective way of indexing the content.

So, with the encouragement and assistance of the compiler, we’ve created links into the collection of files and images that are stored in Texas Tech University’s institutional repository. Recently, we’ve heard from others who have data they’d like us to include, and we’re looking at ways of doing that effectively. This is just one example of that.

Other items we’ve added are mostly more standard print or online collections. The total list is as follows:

If you have maritime content that you’d like to get online, or is online but needs broader publicity, please let us know. We’d love to find a way to help.

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