Invitation to Launch of National Poetry Database – May 13

Canadian poets are ready to be searched, right down to their last bits and bytes.

The team that has captured the bards in a database and made them available for this kind of intensive examination is the staff of the Electronic Text Centre at UNB Libraries in Fredericton.

“Our e-text staff have digitized the poetry of 185 Canadian poets in the pre-19th, 19th and early 20th centuries into a comprehensive, full-text, searchable database,” says John Teskey, director of UNB Libraries in Fredericton. “This is the largest publishing initiative the Electronic Text Centre has ever undertaken. It’s a significant event.”

The Canadian Poetry Database will be launched at a ceremony in the J. Harper Kent Auditorium, Wu Conference Centre, on Monday, May 13, at 11:30 a.m. You’re invited to attend the ceremony and reception following and requested to RSVP if you’ll be attending at 506-453-4740 as soon as possible. Representatives from the federal, provincial and local governments as well as a surprise guest will be on hand for the celebration.

The Electronic Text Centre at UNB in Fredericton produced the database through an agreement with Chadwyck-Healey, a division of ProQuest Information and Learning. It is the first electronic text centre in Canada to partner with Chadwyck-Healey and only the second in the world to collaborate with this publisher on a major scholarly project.

Mr. Teskey applauds his e-text staff for their yeoman service over the past two years in preparing and digitizing the 100,000 pages of poetry. He also credits his staff in the Document Delivery section who found originals of the material for digitization and acknowledges libraries across Canada and the United States for their exceptional co-operation.

Thanks also go to donors Elisabeth (Betty) Gustafson of North Hatley, Que., and Robert Gibbs of Fredericton for their financial support of this project. Mrs. Gustafson is the widow of widely recognized Canadian poet Ralph Gustafson (1909-1995), and Dr. Gibbs is a retired UNB professor of English and well-known for both his poetry and prose.

“The people of New Brunswick will have online access to this cultural treasury through UNB,” explains Mr. Teskey. “The database will iclude a bographical profile and photograph of each poet as well as an extensive bibliography. Users will be able search the poetry in the database by subject, author, title, first line and keywords, both alone and as part of the Literature Online database.”

The UNB Libraries already makes the English Poetry Database, which is Chadwyck-Healey’s premier collection of 165,000 poems in 4,500 works by 1,350 British, Irish, Scottish and Welsh poets, fully accessible for educational purposes in New Brunswick. Others can access the database on CD-ROM and the World Wide Web by subscription through Chadwyck-Healey.