The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and more...
May 31, 2007 7:08 PM   Subscribe

The Internet Library of Early Journals :: A digital library of 18th and 19th Century journals
posted by anastasiav (23 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Seems like a great resource, but with an interface c. 1999: Where's the PDF download archive?
posted by acro at 7:15 PM on May 31, 2007

I meant that as a question for the sites developers ;) Thanks for the post anastasiav.
posted by acro at 7:16 PM on May 31, 2007

Not quite as old, but I often enjoy reading articles from the Journal of Bacteriology's free archives, starting in 1916.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:27 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

I love reading the Transactions of the Royal Society, to see how the observational science done by naturalists of the day was so whimsically written about, compared to how scientific papers are written now.

However, I'm am distracted by the constant use of "f" in the place of "s". But only sometimes. Can someone explain to me why, back then, the word "coasts" was written "coafts"? Lots of examples on this page. Why does the first "s" in a word tend to be written as "f"?
posted by Jimbob at 7:30 PM on May 31, 2007

Very cool, thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:35 PM on May 31, 2007

The birds and the bees

Jimbob: it's not an 'f' because there is no slash through it, rather it's a 383;
posted by delmoi at 7:58 PM on May 31, 2007

er, that's 'ſ'. metafilter ate my entity for some reason.

You'll notice in some of the text they use a regular 's'. like in the word "years" on this page
posted by delmoi at 8:00 PM on May 31, 2007

Yeah, that's my point delmoi - sometimes they use a regular 's', sometimes they use a 'ſ' - I'd like to know the difference between these two letters. Purely for looks?
posted by Jimbob at 8:02 PM on May 31, 2007

According to wikipedia
The long, medial or descending s (ſ) is a form of the minuscule letter 's' formerly used where 's' occurred in the middle or at the beginning of a word, for example ſinfulneſs ("sinfulness"). The modern letterform was called the terminal or short s
The long 's' is derived from the old Roman cursive medial s, which was very similar to an elongated check mark. Eventually it got a more vertical form.
It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't seem to put a little dot on the left side where a slash would start if it was an f they actually explain that on wikipedia as well.
posted by delmoi at 8:10 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

You just have to get used to old fonts if you want to read that stuff. Check out the old German fonts -- the k looks like a t that a pigeon pooped on. It takes a little practice, is all.
posted by uosuaq at 8:26 PM on May 31, 2007

fourattempts down the selecting tree result in smears of useles crap grr for wasting my time.
posted by longsleeves at 8:41 PM on May 31, 2007

It's easier to access the Quarterly Review (more volumes here). There's also a lot of interesting material at Making of America Journals.
posted by thomas j wise at 9:08 PM on May 31, 2007

Elephant Bones found on the banks of the Ohio!

Extraordinary Escape!

A Cure for Perpetual Vomiting!

This stuff is as random & crazy as anything being written on our 21st Century internet. Fantastic post!
posted by squalor at 9:09 PM on May 31, 2007

I remember when PhilTrans of the Royal Society temporarily opened their archives from 1665 on.

Those were good days.
posted by logicpunk at 9:41 PM on May 31, 2007

Thanks anastasiav.
Hey Jimbob, have you seen the NZ Royal Society archives?
posted by peacay at 10:10 PM on May 31, 2007

No but it sure looks like fun!

I loves me some Transactions of the Royal Society of *
posted by Jimbob at 10:22 PM on May 31, 2007

Jimbob: See my AskMe.

I just found this collection of journals too! What a precious archive.

In the "elephant bones" story:
We had information from Muscovy, that the inhabitants of Siberia held them to be the bones of the mammouth, an animal of which they told and believed strange stories. But modern philosophers have held the mammouth to be as fabulous as the centaur.
Man, those Russians believe in crazy shit. Good thing we have Science.
posted by nasreddin at 10:29 PM on May 31, 2007

The interface isn't the best, but, what an excellent resource: thanks anastasiav.
posted by misteraitch at 12:08 AM on June 1, 2007

Funny, I was looking through this just a couple of days ago myself.

I'm in two minds about it. Yes, it's great that this stuff is readily accessible online, but it could have been done so much better. Keyword-searchable TEI? Name markup? Derived contents pages and indices? PDF, even? Look elsewhere, please!

Maybe I'm biased (I worked on the digitization of the RSNZ journals that peacay linked to), but it's almost a form of arrogance. We're Oxford, we're at the cultural centre, we can just stick up huge (and badly scanned) page images with minimal metadata and that'll be enough!
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:09 AM on June 1, 2007

Notes and Queries was a sort of Wikipedia of its day. Informed amateurs would send in short factual articles on just about anything and everything.
posted by stbalbach at 3:55 AM on June 1, 2007

When I was in grad school, I had the great opportunity to use Emory University's almost complete collection of 18th-Century periodicals. Amazing stuff, right out on the shelves, often available for checkout. Like Jimbob, I loved how whimsical the submissions were--sometimes written in the form of poetry, often on subjects like the contagiousness of yawning (it's the vapors, of course), or on the cause of conjoined twins (a sudden fright on the part of the mother causing a sympathetic embracing of the fetuses). Great stuff, anastasiav.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:24 AM on June 1, 2007

posted by caddis at 8:38 PM on June 1, 2007

Daniel Waterhouse would probably be pleased.

Enoch Root, however, can still tell us himself.
posted by sparkletone at 2:27 PM on June 2, 2007

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