- Division: Humanities
- Unit: Medieval & Modern Languages Faculty
- Sub-Unit: Russian
CatCor is a pilot project for a digital database of the letters of Catherine the Great. Funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Grant and the John Fell OUP Research Fund, the project presents a searchable database that could unite in one place her large correspondence and provide the tools to analyse it. In the first phase of the project, we digitised from existing print editions a sample selection of 101 letters written by Catherine in the two pivotal years of 1774 and 1789. The texts were encoded in TEI XML to adhere to the current standards for digital textual editing. With the help of a generous second grant from the John Fell Fund, we are currently continuing to add letters to our database. We are also working on a list of all Catherine’s known letters, which we would one day hope to include in our database. Longer term, our aim is to secure funding and to digitize, mark up and annotate all of Catherine’s available letters. This pilot project aims to demonstrate the possibility and the utility of creating a single searchable database of Catherine’s entire corpus of several thousand letters. Although a large majority of her letters are available in disparate print editions, many of which can be accessed in online scans of varying qualities, there is no single print edition or digital repository available. CatCor promises to gather her correspondence and uniquely to make possible cross-searching, statistical analysis, and new scholarship unthinkable given the current dispersed state of Catherine’s letters. Translations and fresh annotations make this valuable historical and literary corpus more accessible to scholars and non-specialists alike. The digital medium allows the corpus and scholarly apparatus to grow and evolve continually as new discoveries are made. The user of the CatCor pilot will find that all people, places, and works, as well as many events and organisations, mentioned in the letters have been hyperlinked to pages containing additional information identifying them. These entities have also been produced as tables, which users may browse for all mentions of a given entity. Many letters have also been translated into English: both the original texts and the translations are fully searchable. New scholarly annotations have been added to some letters.