Early English Books Online (EEBO)
Quick Reference Guide

Early English Books Online (EEBO) is a database which contains digital images of about 125,000 works, covering the period 1475 to 1700 (including a few hundred items printed later). This has been extended by the Text Creation Partnership (TCP) to incorporate the full, transcribed text of 25,000 works, of which almost 15,000 are now online.

There are two interfaces available:

  • Use the Chadwyck-Healey interface (click on the yellow logo) if you are primarily interested in viewing, printing or exporting the digital images of texts. Items can be located by keyword searching of both the citation and the full text (for some items) and also by browsing the author list. All of the works are available through this interface.
  • Use the EEBO-TCP interface (click on the red logo) if you wish to do full-text searches. Much more sophisticated search methods are available through this interface (including a proximity search), and links to the digital images are provided. Items may also be located by browsing of the author list. Only those texts for which the full text is available are accessible through this interface.

It should be noted that the fully keyed text for an item becomes available through the EEBO-TCP interface before becoming available through the Chadwyck-Healey interface. The time lag can be up to six months, so if you are carrying out full text searching, then it is recommended that you use the EEBO-TCP interface.

Both interfaces offer excellent online help (context sensitive, in the case of the Chadwyck-Healey interface), and the following guide is just to get you started.

EEBO-TCP welcomes suggestions from academics of texts to prioritise for keying. Suggestions should be sent to eebo@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. There is a time delay of at least three months between a particular text being selected and it becoming available online. There is no guarantee that a suggested text will be keyed, but the text selection guidelines are available here.

EEBO (Chadwyck-Healey)

From the home page, choose either Search or Browse to locate the item(s) you are looking for. Once you have left the home page, these options become available on a bar towards the top of the page, along with options to access your Marked List and Search History. Context sensitive help can be accessed through the Help? option, and should be used as the first point of call for information not covered by this guide.

Once you have used the Search or Browse function to find item(s) of interest, you can click on the small icon to the left of each result to view the available digital images, or the full citation, according to the key at the top of the page. Items of particular interest should be added to the Marked List.

Printing images and citations

From the Marked List, it is possible to Print, Email or Download (e.g. for export to reference software) the list of citations, including your own free-text notes, which can be added to each record using the box provided.

If you wish to print the digital images for the whole of the item, use the PDF download option given for each record (in the Marked List). The item will be divided into 50-page sections to cut down on download time, and the required section can be selected. The downloaded PDF can then be printed (File, Print) or saved to disk. (It should be noted that a maximum of 20 pages should be printed out in the Bodleian at any one time.)

If you wish to print the digital images for illustrations, or only a few openings of the item, then the following method should be used. Use the icons to view the document images or illustrations as required, and according to the key at the top of the page. Once you have located the required image, there is a choice of printing options:

  • Click on the PDF icon towards the top of the screen to create a 1-page PDF file consisting of the digital image of the opening of the book.
  • Choose the Adjust view & print option at the bottom of the page. This allows you to zoom in and out, and move around the page, until you are satisfied with the image. Select the blue button Print current view to open a second browser window of your image, which can then be printed (File, Print).


From the home page, choose the type of search you wish to perform. Basic, Boolean, and Proximity searches are all used to search the full text of the works on EEBO-TCP, as is the Word Index option, which allows you to select words from a list. The Bibliographic Search allows you to search for terms in the citation, and the Browse option gives a list of authors. If you are not sure which type of search is most appropriate, select the Basic Search and then click on the Help option. The online help opens in a second browser window, for ease of reference.

Once you have located items of interest, these can be added to a Bookbag. This will open a second browser window listing your items, and allow you to email or download a text file of the citations. (Be careful to check the contents of your Bookbag if you have added a number of items in quick succession.)


The printing options in this interface are limited to those available through the browser (File, Print), so if you wish to print the digital images of the item, it is highly recommended that you use the Chadwyck-Healey interface.

When viewing images through the EEBO-TCP interface, a link to the Chadwyck-Healey interface is available by clicking on the box at the top centre of the page. Note that this does not open a new browser window, and will only take you to the search page, not the item you are looking at.


[Georgina Hardy, 2004, based on work by Kathryn Norris, 2004. Revised by Oxford TCP team, February 2008.]

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