Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



Paul Royster,

Date of this Version



Presented at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Convention, Richmond, Virginia, March 28, 2009.


A presentation about the origin, typography, and design of the 2006 digital edition of James Anderson's The Constitutions of the Free-Masons and about the online reception of a work that has turned out to be the single most popular document in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's institutional repository.

The first part is a discussion of how an 18th-century printed work is presented in a 21st-century electronic format, including design and editorial principles.

The second part discusses 1) the intentional outreach or marketing efforts by the developer, and 2) the viral or non-intentional links and adoptions created by internet users.

The third part is a recruitment invitation for editors of other 18th-century texts that might be included in the electronic texts series.

Mozilla Firefox users: There is a known bug in the Firefox PDF plug-in (which opens PDFs within the browser window) that will crash if a file exceeds its buffer size. It will tell you “The file is damaged and cannot be repaired” (which is not true). There are 3 remedies:
1. Right-click and download the PDF outside the browser (i.e., “Save link as ...”)
2. Change your Firefox settings to open PDFs with regular Adobe Reader (or Acrobat) instead of the plug-in version. This is reached under Tools > Options > Applications. PDF files will then open in a separate Adobe Reader (or Acrobat) window, not inside the browser window.
3. Download the file with Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, etc.

Digitally (Re)Publishing Franklin's 1734 Edition.ppt (10925 kB)
The PowerPoint version