Academic journal article Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies

British Virginia: Digital Publisher of Colonial Documents

Academic journal article Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies

British Virginia: Digital Publisher of Colonial Documents

Article excerpt

British Virginia, http://wp.vcu.edu/britishvirginia/, is a new, open-access, digital, academic publisher. It offers free (and freely reusable), peer-reviewed, documentary editions of texts touching on the colony. The publisher launched on April 25, 2013 with two editions of the earliest surviving sermon printed for the Virginia Company of London, which William Symonds preached on that date in 1609. The general editors welcome proposals for scholarly editions of documents within this broad range.

British Virginia editions appear principally in digital form, specifically in the now-free Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Readers may freely download them from the British Virginia website, hosted by the libraries at Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition to storing them, VCU Libraries is also cataloging all British Virginia editions, so that students and scholars will be able to find them in WorldCat. Since the final destination for scholarship is the university library, we are publishing British Virginia editions directly to, and through, the library-and then relying on the library to preserve our work and to maintain access to it. Other libraries may acquire, store, and catalog British Virginia editions without the cost even of shelf space. By doing so, participating institutions can become charter subscribing libraries, and have their names featured on every edition as well as on the website- again, at no cost. In return, the general editors simply ask that you help us widen and preserve access to these important sources by reproducing and storing them, whether on hard drives, other discs, or acid-free paper, and within any combination of inventive bindings and boxes, computer housing, and good old-fashioned roofs and walls.

British Virginia's inaugural sub-series, "Virginia Company Sermons," will feature sermons preached to and printed for the Virginia Company of London. The first three of these sermons participated in an unprecedented effort to use religion to rally broad support for the troubled colony in 1609 and to defend it from a host of criticisms. William Symonds, Robert Gray, and William Crashaw each contributed to the cause a sermon quarto, published by William Welby. The company revived the practice of printing sermons in 1622 with quartos by Patrick Copland and John Donne. …

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