Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO): Part I

Images from the British Library The plays of William Shakspeare. With the corrections and illustrations of various commentators
Product Category
Primary Sources
More than 26 million
Fact Sheet

Explore the most comprehensive collection of eighteenth-century books available anywhere online for scholarly research

Together with Part II, Eighteenth Century Collections Online: Part I offers students and researchers access to the most comprehensive online library of eighteenth-century book titles printed in the United Kingdom.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online contains every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom between the years 1701 and 1800; Part I includes 135,000 printed works, comprising more than 26 million scanned facsimile pages. While the majority of works in ECCO are in the English language, researchers will also discover a rich vein of works printed in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and Welsh.

Full-text searching across all 26 million pages enables users to explore a vast range of books and directories, bibles, sheet music, sermons, advertisements, and works by both celebrated and lesser-known authors. Researchers will also find rare works from women writers of the eighteenth century, collections on the French Revolution, and numerous editions of the works of Shakespeare.

Multiple editions of an individual work now allow researchers to make textual comparisons between editions essential for their research. With hard-to-find material in every genre and subject, this collection provides the kind of multidisciplinary research opportunities that have been unavailable until now. The material has been arranged and presented in seven subject areas, streamlining the research experience for teachers and students alike:

ECCO contains thousands of titles, each of which falls into one of seven subject areas.

  • History and Geography — Explore ancient and contemporary times, voyages and discoveries, biographies and memoirs, genealogical collections, gazetteers, church antiquities, and tourist guides of Britain. Topics include chronologies, recreation, military, travel diaries, and topography.
  • Social Science and Fine Arts — Social Science looks at manufacturers and merchants, artisans and skilled workers, international business, banking, taxation, and lotteries. Topics include current events, social reform, business/economics/finance, and political science. Fine Arts reviews music, painting, theater and architecture, building and carpentry, vocal and instrumental music, paintings, prints drawings, coins and metals, collectibles, and private art collections.
  • Medicine, Science, and Technology — Science, applied science and technology, and the treatment of diseases and conditions are covered. Topics include agriculture, cookbooks, military technology, natural philosophy, scientific education, and more.
  • Literature and Language — Find celebrated eighteenth-century essayists, novelists, poets, and playwrights, including hundreds of works by the best-known authors as well as many by lesser-known authors. Topics include drama, poetry, ballads, religion, grammar, dictionaries, songs from plays, satire, book lists, and more.
  • Religion and Philosophy — Resources include sermons, bibles, and prayer books as well as moral and ethical debates and prescriptions for proper conduct.
  • Law — Follow the development of law in the British Empire. Topics include acts, criminal and international law, appellants’ cases, and more.
  • Reference — View ephemeral material on the whole of life during the century.

Look Inside

Additional Details

Subjects Covered
  • English Language and Literature Studies
  • Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
  • English
  • European Studies
  • Western European Studies
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Hispanic / Latin America Studies
  • Law and Legal Studies
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Philosophy
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Studies
  • Humanities/Humanistic Studies
  • Social Sciences
  • U.S. History
  • American/United States Studies/Civilization
Term Frequency

Researchers can now easily see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, events, and ideas interacted and developed over time.

Term Clusters

By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections to search terms — helping scholars shape their research and integrate diverse content with relevant information.


Integrate content from complementary primary source products in one intuitive environment to enable users to make never-before-possible research connections.

Reviews & Testimonials

“To have or not to have ECCO is an existential question for any serious student, researcher, or teacher of the eighteenth century. The database provides access, at the click of a mouse, to the holdings of the very best research libraries in the world. Contrary to research libraries, it permits easy searchability, necessitates no time-consuming travel and is accessible twenty-four hours a day. In teaching, it enables professors to use, and students to do independent research on, an exhilarating range of primary documents. As for research, ECCO is simply becoming a sine qua non for scholarship that breaks new ground.”

Professor Lukas Erne, Director, English Department, University of Geneva

“As a Professor of English Historical Linguistics, I could no longer do without ECCO (and its companion database, EEBO) for my research. I remember when I had to make expensive, time-consuming trips to London or Oxford, read early modern English books in the libraries there, order and pay for microfilms, and get them many weeks later. Nowadays, at a click of a mouse, I can access all the early books I want, and I can easily compare different editions of the same work. My research on the history of English lexicography in the 18th century would be literally impossible without ECCO; nor would it be possible for my MA and PhD students to study and work on primary sources.”

Prof. Giovanni Iamartino, University of Milan

ECCO has been invaluable to my research on eighteenth-century literature and culture. Having a full-text, searchable database on my screen allowed me access to even the most obscure primary materials at my convenience, saving me airfare to a major collection. Completing my recent publications would have been much more difficult without ECCO.”

Dr. Elizabeth Bohls

“Another of the latest 'hot' products to wow scholars, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, a comprehensive digital edition of The Eighteenth Century microfilm resource, includes nearly every significant English-language title and edition published between 1701 and 1800 in the UK, along with thousands of important works from the Americas—amounting to full-text searching of some 33 million pages of material. A wonderful addition of primary source material to have readily accessible.”

Library Journal, November 15, 2008

Eighteenth Century Collections Online is a comprehensive digital edition. As the promotional material claims, 'The Eighteenth Century Collection Online is the most ambitious single digitization project ever undertaken. It delivers every significant English-language title printed in Great Britain during the 18th century, along with thousands of important works from the Americas.' With an assertion like that, it's no wonder the resource's popularity has taken hold on campuses worldwide.”

NetConnect, Spring 2008