Early English Books Online: “From the first book printed in English by William Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War, Early English Books Online (EEBO) will contain over 125,000 titles listed in Pollard and Redgrave’s Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640), Wing’s Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700), the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661), and the Early English Tract Supplement – all in full digital facsimile from the Early English Books microfilm collection.”
Oxford English Dictionary: a historical dictionary of the English language. This herculean Victorian project sought to provide instances of a word’s evolution over time, and remains an invaluable resource, particularly when reading pre-20th century texts.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: “the national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. The Dictionary offers concise, up-to-date biographies written by named, specialist authors. . . . The Oxford DNB now includes biographies of 59,453 men and women who died in or before the year 2011—plus 513 ‘Theme’ articles for reference and research.”
Middle English Dictionary: “described as ‘the greatest achievement in medieval scholarship in America.’ Its 15,000 pages offer a comprehensive analysis of lexicon and usage for the period 1100-1500, based on the analysis of a collection of over three million citation slips, the largest collection of this kind available. This electronic version of the MED preserves all the details of the print MED, but goes far beyond this, by converting its contents into an enormous database, searchable in ways impossible within any print dictionary.”
Lexicons of Early Modern English (LEME): “a historical database of monolingual, bilingual, and polyglot dictionaries, lexical encyclopedias, hard-word glossaries, spelling lists, and lexically-valuable treatises surviving in print or manuscript from the Tudor, Stuart, Caroline, Commonwealth, and Restoration periods.”
The Forest of Rhetoric (BYU): “This online rhetoric, provided by Dr. Gideon Burton of Brigham Young University, is a guide to the terms of classical and renaissance rhetoric. Sometimes it is difficult to see the forest (the big picture) of rhetoric because of the trees (the hundreds of Greek and Latin terms naming figures of speech, etc.) within rhetoric.”