The aim of this edition is to provide a fully browseable, searchable and annotated online hypertext archive of the complete diplomatic correspondence of Thomas Bodley. The current version – Version 5 – includes 990 letters in English to and from Bodley between the years 1585-1597.

The correspondence comprises letters, including those sent, those in draft form, and copies. Also included are Bodley’s letters of diplomatic instruction and papers relating to the bureaucratic apparatus of his posting (his cipher and passport, for example), and the copies and minutes associated with the administration of his role as diplomatic agent. These drafts and copies of instructions are of critical interest to the development of foreign policy at the tense juncture of Bodley’s appointment. Documents and letters which mention, but are not directly to or from Bodley are not included. Documents which are no letters are not included.

The letter transcripts have been stored as XML files in order that they fulfil the following functions: to be suitable for online publication, searching, hypertext linking, customization, and generation of multiple versions; to be in a format that allows the possibility for future exchange; and to be suitable for long-term preservation and storage with an appropriate facility.

The transcripts are accompanied by a series of indexes and by editorial apparatus that introduces, illustrates, and enhances the ability to navigate the corpus. The indexes are automatically generated as XML queries from a database containing a complete catalogue of the letters. The search facility is a custom-written utility developed at CELL that enables free-text searching of the online content. Images of the documents are stored as high-resolution TIFF files, optimized as JPEGs for online viewing.

All editorial documentation has been authored by the project team.