About IsisCB Explore and IsisCB Cumulative

IsisCB Explore

IsisCB Explore is an open access discovery service. Opened in 2015, it utilizes citation data in the Isis Bibliography dataset to power a robust search engine. Using Explore, you can discover publications, people, and concepts in all areas of history of science, technology, and medicine. The project was funded through a two-year development grant by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

IsisCB Explore enables users to search for citations, authors, editors, publisher, journals, and concepts using a dataset of over 220,000 citations to historical works across more than four decades of research in the field. The content is updated daily, so users always have the most up-to-date resources in the field.

The innovative design works through a relational network graph of the data based on two record types: citations (the bibliographic entries that have been classified and indexed) and authorities (the identity records for subjects, categories, authors, contributors, publishers, journals, places, people, and institutions).
All of our source code is at GitHub. Our data is open for use following the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

IsisCB Cumulative

Since the data in IsisCB Explore only goes back to 1974, the IsisCB Cumulative site is a place where users can browse electronically all of the volumes from the previous cumulations of the Isis Bibliography going back to 1913. The data was originally published in print as part of the journal Isis between volume 1 (1913) and volume 66 (1975) and later cumulated into a two cumulations consisting of a total of seven volumes.

The digitization of this material was made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant that also funded the creation of the Explore service. Eventually, this data will be integrated into the Isis CB Explore system. In the meantime, anyone who would like to get access to this data now can get it via a simple HTML interface.

All the pages of the Isis Cumulative Bibliographies (nearly 5000 pages in all) were photographed and stored as archival quality TIFF images by the University of Oklahoma Libraries’ Digilab (a discussion of this project is here). Because the accuracy of OCR proved to be insufficient for our needs, hand transcription was used. The digital humanities consultant Conal Tuohy was hired to create a workflow that would turn the scanned images into machine-readable text with TEI markup. Apex Covantage produced the transcription using a double-key entry process that has an accuracy of 99.95%. Tuohy then worked with the resulting files to provide the HTML pages that we have presented here. The files include bibliographical markup for identifiable fields in the citations, which will be used to ingest the data to the IsisCB Explore dataset.