Centre for Digital Humanities


EDPOP Virtual Research Environment

Key words

  • Early modern European print culture
  • Digital bibliographic and biographical datasets
  • Online glossary
  • Linked data

Short description

The EDPOP Virtual Research Environment (VRE) facilitates research into early modern European popular print culture by enabling researchers to create and annotate their own virtual collections of printed materials, as well as assess collections made by their peers.

The VRE allows users to collect metadata from various bibliographic datasets and enrich it with annotations to conduct various qualitative and quantitative analyses. Available datasets include the Universal Short Title Catalogue, CERL’s Heritage of the Printed Book database, the Short Title Catalogue of the Netherlands, and library catalogues of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the British Library.

Collections within the VRE serve various research purposes, including studying the development of a specific genre across time and regions, tracing the surviving copies of a particular work, or analyzing the production of popular material in a certain town or print shop. These digital collections offer a way to bring together expertise on various types of popular print and to help fellow researchers to save time collecting and assessing dispersed bibliographical data. In September 2023, an online glossary of early modern popular print genres was also launched for use within the VRE.

The Research Software Lab is presently enhancing the VRE with the following features:

  • Establishing connections between bibliographical and biographical data.
  • Integrating connections (via API’s) with additional European (Research Library) catalogues specialized datasets (e.g. the Dutch Songs Online (Liederenbank), the STCN, and European bibliographical databases and catalogues).
  • Linking to full texts in repositories of digitized text collections for textual analysis, including penny prints (in Geheugen van Nederland; Rijksmuseum; Allard Pierson; Openlucht Museum Arnhem; Fries Museum) and (international) repositories like DBNL, Nederlab, Gallica, Delpher, EEBO and ECCO.
  • Integrating text mining capabilities with the text and exploration tool I-Analyzer.
  • Using Linked Data to ensure accessibility of data from diverse sources and formats in a uniform manner.
  • Developing a methodology for automatically adapting ‘general’ metadata to the needs of research projects.

This project pioneers in the delivery of new tooling for analyzing textual and visual combinations, with selected corpora serving as a case study. The intention is to publish findings from these studies and the methodology used. Additionally, the developed tools will be made available for internal use at Utrecht University, accompanied by a paper outlining best practices.


The EDPOP Virtual Research Environment (VRE) was launched in 2018 as the output of the international research network The European Dimensions of Popular Print Culture (EDPOP). The VRE was developed in collaboration with the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL), the Utrecht University Library, and the CDH Research Software Lab, and is funded by Utrecht University Datahub SSH.