Latest launch of ProQuest project

December 2010: ProQuest launch

The second of this year’s releases of the John Johnson Collection: An Archive of Printed Ephemera (ProQuest) is now available at and This release completes the John Johnson Collection and features major enhancements to the Crime, Murders and Executions component of the resource.

Completion of the John Johnson Collection

Facsimile images of more than 5,300 items have been added to the John Johnson Collection with this release, bringing the total number of scanned documents to 67,754 (a total of 174,196 images). The collection now includes more than 20,700 pieces of theatrical and non-theatrical ephemera from the Nineteenth-Century Entertainment category and more than 11,700 items from the Booktrade category. Over 11,200 Popular Prints are available in facsimile form, along with more than 22,400 items from Advertising and over 1,500 from Crimes, Murders and Executions.

The publication of this release marks the completion of the John Johnson Collection and the fulfilment of the objectives of the partnership between the Bodleian Library and ProQuest, which set out to conserve, catalogue and digitise more than 65,000 items from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera. This innovative undertaking was funded and supported throughout by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) through its Digitisation Programme.

Puzzle Pictures, Hold-to-Light Works, and More

This release of the John Johnson Collection provides access to some of the most ingenious and entertaining products of the nineteenth-century press, including visual puzzles, window pictures, hold-to-light works, celluloid transparencies, lift-the-flap pictures, and stand-up cutout figures. More than 130 novelty items of various different kinds are now available, each testifying to the inventiveness, enterprise, and sophistication of the artists and printers who produced them.

This fascinating and complex body of material has been brought to life by experts at the Bodleian Library's Photographic Studio using a variety of special scanning techniques. Translucent hold-to-light pictures have been photographed both with and without transmitted light, allowing users of the John Johnson Collection to see hidden second images magically appear and disappear; stand-up cutout chromolithographed figures are shown both in their flat, folded state and in three dimensions. Hold-to-light works can also be retrieved by performing searches such as Quick Search: "hold-to-light", while Quick Search: "mechanical works" will retrieve lift-the-flap pictures and three-dimensional models.

For more information, see What’s New on the ProQuest website.

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December 2010: Mapping Crime: Enhanced Records for Crime, Murders and Executions

Of the five major categories of material included in the John Johnson Collection, an Archive of Printed Ephemera (ProQuest) the Crimes, Murders and Executions section is one of the most popular and most often consulted, providing documentary evidence that supports research in various aspects of social history. This section of the resource comprises more than 1,400 records, all with associated digital images, and includes both broadsides and pamphlets.

With funding from the JISC through its e-Content Programme, the Bodleian Library and ProQuest have enhanced this material by mapping individual records to the appropriate entries in a number of external online resources that contain references, citations or other related material, thereby offering users the scope to explore more easily themes and narratives encountered in the John Johnson Collection. The project guides researchers to other information directly related to their line of enquiry, and allows them to build connections or follow trails between different resources. The four main open-access resources to which the project provides links are the Old Bailey Proceedings Online; Harvard Law School Library's digitized broadside collections, Dying Speeches and Bloody Murders; the Newgate Calendar, hosted by the Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas at Austin; and the Bodleian Library's digitized catalogue of broadside ballads.

A researcher studying contemporary accounts of, for example, the murder of Maria Marten (the notorious ‘Red Barn Murder’ of 1827), can use the new Mapping Crime links to navigate directly from crime broadsides in the John Johnson Collection – notably Horrible Murder (1828) and The Trial of Corder for the Murder of Maria Marten (1828) – to a wide range of related sources, including contemporary ballads about the murder (hosted as part of the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads collection), accounts of the execution of William Corder (from Harvard’s Dying Speeches resource), and an account of Corder’s crime and conviction (from the Newgate Calendar). Users with access to ProQuest’s British Periodicals resource and/or Cengage’s 19th Century UK Periodicals and British Newspapers 1600–1900 resources can also link directly to contemporary accounts of the murder in periodicals and newspapers. In addition, the Mapping Crime initiative provides links to related items in other parts of the John Johnson Collection itself (which include playbills for a performance in Lincoln of a ‘new Tragic Melo Drama ... called The RED BARN’ and for a waxwork exhibition described as ‘A BEAUTIFUL CYCLORAMA Of the Mysterious MURDER OF MARIA MARTEN, by WILLIAM CORDER’).

Links to external online resources created as part of this initiative are displayed under the heading Related Resources on the Full Record display for items from the Crimes, Murders and Executions collection. Users can restrict searches to items for which Mapping Crime resources are available using the new checkbox that appears above the Keyword(s) field on the Search: Crimes, murders and executions search screen.

Find out more about the Mapping Crime project.

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Related links

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