The Standard Spiritualist and Occult Corpus (SSOC)
The Standard Spiritualist and Occult Corpus (SSOC) is an open source text project, focused on book-length texts, in English, covering Spiritualism, the occult, New Thought and allied parasciences (mesmerism, magnetism, phrenology, alchemy, chiromancy and so forth) published between 1790 and 1940. Currently the SSOC consists of more than 8,000 book-length texts (approximately 2.1 million pages), and includes many of the texts considered "classics" in Spiritualism and the occult. Every text in the SSOC is supplied, free of charge, in indexed PDF form, allowing it to be electronically stored, searched, printed and converted (to image, HTML or text). The outer, later bound of the corpus is limited by copyright law.
The intent behind this project is to provide, at low cost, a more or less complete document database of important primary book-length materials to all academic and non-academic researchers, aficionados, and readers interested in Spiritualism, the occult and allied parasciences.
The SSOC is a curated project, with regular releases of texts, and plans for the inclusion of non-textual material related to Spiritualism, the occult and allied parasciences.
The SSOC can be used as a library: texts can be drawn from it on an ad hoc basis. But, by design, the SSOC is a database, structured to sit underneath a full-text retrieval engine (like Windows Search, OS X Spotlight, Foxtrot, Copernic or X Search) to enable researchers, aficionados and readers to find all relevant materials on a particular topic at local search engine speeds, and draw materials from an owned local copy of the SSOC.
The SSOC is also suitable for use as the basis for text processing applications -- named-entity recognition tools, social network analysis tools, lexical analysis tools -- that can consume either PDF files or the text or HTML files that PDFs can produce. Some text processing projects -- named entity extraction and the production of high-fidelity machine-readable text versions of the SSOC documents -- are planned by the SSOC team; please coordinate your work with the team so that there's minimal duplication of effort.
Additionally, an online search engine that searches ONLY the SSOC corpus is effectively available, via Google, using the "site:iapsop.com/ssoc/" argument in a Google Search, as in the example below.
This option may be suitable for occasional users who are interested in pinpointing a selection of texts to download, but is not intended as a substitute for an owned local copy of the entire SSOC.
You can also use the Search option in the top bar of this page to access a search facility that can be made SSOC-specific.
Access to the SSOC has additional benefits, including the ability to check others' citations and re-establish the context lost through conventional citational apparatus easily, as well as the ability to fact-check and test assertions made about aspects of Spiritualist, occult and parascientific discourse between the end of the eighteenth century and the start of the Second World War.
If you have questions that are not answered by the material provided, if you find a bug in the SSOC distribution, if you have concerns or issues with the corpus, or if you have book length primary material to contribute to the SSOC, feel free to contact the SSOC maintenance team at firstname.lastname@example.org.