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History of the Project

The George Eliot Review Digitization Project is directed by Dr. Beverley Rilett of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who has dedicated much of her career to studying George Eliot. In October of 2015, she visited Eliot’s hometown in Nuneaton, England, to meet with John Burton, Chair of the George Eliot Fellowship. One of the topics they discussed was the inaccessibility of the Fellowship’s peer-reviewed specialty journal, the George Eliot Review, (formerly the George Eliot Fellowship Review) because it was not available online. Public and university libraries are eliminating their collections of print journals and opting for electronic editions instead. As research methods change to online resources, George Eliot scholars have been disadvantaged; unlike most other famous authors who are essential to understanding our literary heritage, there has been no website devoted exclusively to George Eliot’s life and works. This project will solve that problem by curating Eliot’s manuscripts, criticism, correspondence, images, and other research resources into a central online archive.

After much email communication and a second in-person visit, Rilett and Burton decided to collaborate on a major digital project. Their international, non-commercial Creative Commons publication agreement acknowledges their shared commitment to world-wide free, open access to public scholarship. The first phase of the project is what you see here: saving 50 years of scholarship by republishing all the back issues of the George Eliot Review online and making every document searchable individually and collectively. The next phase of the project will be the development and launching of the George Eliot Archive.

With four undergraduate research assistants, all awarded stipends via the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's UCARE (Undergraduate Creative Arts and Research Experience) program, much has been achieved towards Dr. Rilett’s initial goal. The UNL team has worked collectively to digitize all the George Eliot Reviews from 1970-2017 and tracked metadata using the Excel platform. The team has located all the published writings of George Eliot, along with a vast number of documents, information, and images related to her life and work, which are being organized and coded for digital display. The team also is in the process of creating a visual interactive map of relationships that will reveal the web of personal connections between George Eliot and her various acquaintances, friends, family, and colleagues—an untapped format for telling Eliot’s life story. In short, the team has been collecting what will serve as the foundation for the George Eliot Archive website, which is already in the development stage and will be launched by December 2018.  

Project Staff

Dr. Beverley Rilettproject director, is a lecturer and research assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She recently edited British Poetry of the Long Nineteenth Century: A Selection for College Students (2017), and is currently completing a revisionist biography of George Eliot. She has been an advisor to 12 UCARE (Undergraduate Creative Arts and Research Experience) students to date.

Sara Duke is a senior English and history double major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently works on editing images, transcription, database development, and grant proposals for the project. In addition to her work at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, she also presented with the project team at the European Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, with her paper "Funding Your Digital Project: Applying for Grants."

Rachel Gordon is a junior English and political science double major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently works as the website developer for the project. She and the team recently presented at the European Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, with her paper "Design Considerations and Options for Web Development."

Bailea Kerr is a senior English and French double major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently works in database development, image processing, and recording the history of the project. Not only did she present last year at the European Studies Conference, but she also presented with this year's team, her paper entitled "Saving Scholarship that Matters: The George Eliot Review."


Past Student Workers

Rosamond Thalken, 2016-2017; digitization and transcription, project presentation