Online calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin

Project start date: 2001-06 Project end date: 2002-05
The web resource created through the AHRB-funded initiative `An online calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin' and launched in 2002, was based on a revised and updated edition of the printed Calendar to the Correspondence of Charles Darwin: 1821 – 1882 (Cambridge University Press, 1994), but incorporated further substantial additions and corrections. The book summarises every letter that the naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-82) was then known to have sent or received and is a standard reference work for scholars. As letters continually come to light or are redated in the course of research, print format becomes quickly out of date; the creation of a searchable online version was an highly desirable step. That resource has continued to be expanded and refined and now forms the backbone of a continually updated online edition of the full texts of the letters (see Texts are added to the site four years after print publication with more than 6200 of a known total of around 15000 available by July 2009. The basic entry for each letter, both in the printed Calendar and on the Darwin Correspondence Project website, contains the following information: a reference number (the ‘Calendar’ or ‘Letter’ number); the name of the correspondent, if identified; the address, if one appears on the letter or can be supplied; and the date, if known or conjectured. The body of the entry contains the summary of the content. The physical description of the letter is then given, and, if it has been published, a bibliographical reference is added. Finally the location of the original or copy that is the basis of the entry is recorded.
Subject domains: 
Methods usedCategory
Coding and standardisationData structuring and enhancement
General project managementStrategy and project management
General website developmentData publishing and dissemination
Interface designData publishing and dissemination
Text encoding - descriptiveData structuring and enhancement
Text encoding - presentationalData structuring and enhancement
Text encoding - referentialData structuring and enhancement
Funding sources: 
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Jephcott Charitable Trust, Wilkinson Charitable Foundation
Software tools used: 
Source material used:  
Legacy data originally used to create the print edition of A calendar to the correspondence of Charles Darwin, now supplemented by similar files used to create the print edition of The correspondence of Charles Darwin. These files were in a variety of formats, generally ASCII files coded using either (a) a markup developed specifically for the Darwin Correspondence Project and compatible with the museums cataloguing package, MUSCAT, or (b) various incarnations of the typesetting package TeX or LaTeX.
Digital resource created:  
An searchable calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin now incorporating links to transcriptions of many letters. The current version of this is at .
Access to digital resource:  
Open Access

Institutions affiliated with this project: 

UK HE institutions involved:
University of Cambridge
Other institutions involved:
American Council of Learned Societies

Project staff and expertise: 

Principal staff member:Dr Alison Pearn
Other staff:Computing officer(s) / Technical supporter(s), Postdoctoral researcher(s) / Research assistant(s)
External expertise:Technical development was undertaken by an external consultant, Dr Martin Oldfield.

Metadata on this record
Author(s) of recordAlison Pearn
TitleOnline calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin
Record created2010-10-04
Record updated2011-01-27 14:13
URL of record
Citation of recordAlison Pearn: Online calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin. <> created: 2010-10-04, last updated 2011-01-27 14:13
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