Seven institutions came together to create the Shelley-Godwin Archive to digitized the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft. These authors were part of the same family and are considered to be “England’s first family of writers.” One of the most recognizable family members in the modern day is Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein.
Users can look at many different manuscripts in the “Explore the Archive” page. After selecting a document, the page shows users what the actual text looks like and also provides a transcription of the work. Along with this, the transcription can also show users who wrote certain sections. This particular feature is especially useful to those trying to understand how these authors collaborated with other people. It is excellent that this archive digitized the original work as they are fragile documents.
There are many benefits to this archive, but unfortunately, not all the features are available. One of the main features that is promoted under the page “Using the Shelley-Godwin Archive” is the ability to search within the manuscripts. However, this feature is not available to use. One of the instructional videos shows users how to search for words like “Monster” and “wretch,” but when a user tries this, zero results show up. Not even the search for “Mary” receives any results, which is odd considering that one of the primary authors in the archive is named Mary.
I was not the only person who had this issue. My friends also could not search for anything and kept getting an error message that said they could not connect to the server.
Overall this is a good archive for maintaining manuscripts, but it is not searchable. Research can still be done with this archive, but it may take longer for scholars to find what they are looking for in such an extensive collection.