The Making of the Modern World (MOMW) had its origins in the systematic building of collections of works of "economic literature." The English economist, Herbert Somerton Foxwell (1849-1936), built the two collections that afterwards become the Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature and the Kress Library, and heavily influenced Edwin R. A. Seligman (1831-1939), the American economist and professor, as he assembled what would eventually become the Seligman Collection at Columbia University. Foxwell appreciated that in order to understand the way that the economy worked, one needed to know as much as possible about the world of which the economy was a part. He set a high standard. His collections and those of his successors incorporated material about every aspect of the world. So does MOMW.
The first iteration of The Making of the Modern World began with the mid-fifteenth century and ends in the mid-nineteenth century in accordance with Foxwell's protocols. The second iteration continues the collection to 1914, the start of the First World War. In effect MOMW now embraces the history of the world from the beginnings of the expansion of Europe to the end of European domination of that world.
MOMW abounds in astounding richness and diversity. Many works that are available in MOMW are digital facsimile copies of works that are unique. Multiple editions of a work permit the researcher and the teacher to trace the development of an author's thoughts and compare successive expressions of an author's ideas. The availability in one online database of translations of key works into other languages allows the researcher to understand the spread of key ideas across space and time. The multi-lingual nature of MOMW helps us comprehend the interactions among contemporaries of concepts and ideas as they developed in real time. The inclusion of important serial publications enriches our ability readily to explore a literature that expressed itself in a range of media. Clever and powerful search techniques, including the ability to full-text search across every word in the entire collection, make searches simple despite different languages, spellings, and fonts.
June 29, 2014