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NINES as search aggregator

Patrick C Fleming

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Because NINES brings together so many peer reviewed projects, it provides a quick way to locate and bring together evidence that might otherwise take a long time to collect. When writing about Maria Edgeworth, for example, I wanted to demonstrate her popularity throughout the nineteenth century. NINES allowed me, in just a few minutes, to bring together references to Edgeworth from a number of major nineteenth-century writers, which I collected under the tag “edgeworth.” When I was ready, I selected a few: Wordsworth visited Edgeworth in 1829, remarking in a letter “the authoress is very lively”; Coleridge read Practical Education as soon as it came out, writing to his wife in September 1798, “I pray you, my Love! read Edgeworth’s Essay on Education — read it heart & soul,” and in 1834 mentions Edgeworth’s Helen in a letter to Eliza Nixon, referring to “how much noise this Work was making & the great interest it had excited.” She was important to the Victorians, too: Dickens regretted missing a chance to meet her, and Christina Rossetti, writing to her brother Dante in 1875, asks, “does it happen that you or Mrs. Morris might know of a do. do. of Miss Edgeworth’s tales? Mamma is very anxious to replace a ‘Castle Rackrent.’” All this amounted to little more than a footnote in my own work, but it provided some support to what would otherwise have been a mere commonplace. And NINES made this very easy: without it, I would have had to search through indices of collections of letters, and wouldn’t necessarily have known which authors to check.