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. The transatlantic collaboration of Professor Rilett and Mr. Burton, which resulted in the George Eliot Review Digitization Project, effectively saved these important journals for future scholars. Their international, non-commercial Creative Commons publication agreement acknowledges their shared commitment to worldwide 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. With a rotating staff of 3 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. On this website, users may investigate a half-century of George Eliot criticism. We provide free access to page images of each issue as it appeared in print. Moreover, our digitized version allows readers to search contents by year, issue number, author, genre, and subject. Our project team has worked to summarize the individual articles and reviews to make this information as useful as possible to visitors.
The next phase of the project will be the development and launching of the George Eliot Archive--an electronic repository for primary research documents by and about George Eliot. We have already 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 on the George Eliot Archive site. We also will create a visual interactive map of relationships to 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. Our team will launch this second, much larger website in December 2018, in time for the bicentennial celebration of Eliot's birth (1819).
Dr. Beverley Rilett, project director, is a research assistant professor and lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who specializes in nineteenth-century literature and culture, biography, and digital humanities. 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.
Ekstrom, Megan is a senior English major and classics minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently preparing documents for online publication and researching George Eliot and queer relationships to present at the European Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2018.
Gordon, Rachel is a senior English and political science double major and human rights minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently works as the website developer for the project. She presented "Design Considerations and Options for Web Development" at the European Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in October 2017 and is preparing to present on George Eliot's transatlantic relationships in 2018.
Jhi, Riley is a senior computer science and studio arts major and mathematics minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently working as a website developer and researching relationship mapping to present at the European Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2018.
Past Student Workers
Sara Duke, 2017-18; image editing, database development, grant opportunities research, conference and poster session presentation
Bailea Kerr, 2016-18; database development, image processing, recording the history of the project, conference and poster session presentations
Rosamond Thalken, 2016-17; digitization and transcription, conference and poster presentation