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[February 1998: The Reading Experience Database (RED) is launching a quarterly newsletter -RED Letter- for contributors to, and those interested in, the database and related topics in the history of reading. If you wish to receive an electronic version of issue one please contact
. This issue contains a list of designated readers of texts which contain many reading experiences, and news about the Open University Book History research project 'Was there a reading revolution? Evidence for change in the British reading experience, 1700-1740-1800-1840'. If you would like a hard copy of RED Letter, complete with the RED introduction pack, please write to Dr Colclough, The Open University, Parsifal College, 527 Finchley Road, London NW3 7BG, UK.]
The Reading Experience Database (RED), run jointly by the Open University, UK and the British Library's Centre for the Book, was launched on 23 November 1996. RED will record evidence of every type of reading experience over the period 1450-1914. Initially it will be restricted to reading experience in the British Isles and reading experience of those born in the British Isles (so the reading of British travellers abroad and first generation British and Irish emigrants will be included) but later we hope to expand the range.
Printed forms on which a reading experience can be recorded will be available from RED. At the same time RED will be launched on the Internet with a home page which will include an electronic version of the form (so that it will also be possible to send examples of reading experience to RED electronically).
Anyone interested in a particular individual who lived at any time in Britain during the period 1450-1914 (and who left letters, diaries, annotated books, etc. which contain evidence of reading experience) should get in touch with one of RED directors listed below. RED is looking for volunteers to work their way systematically through such materials in order to record evidence of reading.
We aim to keep everybody informed of developments in RED by issuing regular reports on its progress. Within a few years we hope to make the growing contents of RED available to all those who have contributed to it. Somewhat later RED will be made accessible to all interested parties.
Further information and copies of the RED record form are available from either Simon Eliot or Mike Crump.
Dr Simon Eliot, RED, The Open University, 4 Portwall Lane, Bristol BS1 6ND. Internet address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Mike Crump, RED, Centre for the Book, The British Library, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.