The Making of the Modern World (MOMW) is a very large digital collection of over 60,000 works primarily on economics written in Europe and the United States. It is comprised of two parts: MOMW I (1450-1850), and MOMW II (1851-1914). MOMW I contains over 59000 monographs and over 460 serial titles, while MOMW II added 5000 more monographs and reports. The materials were digitized from a combined microform version of the Goldsmiths’ Library of Economic Literature at the University of London Library and the Kress Collection of Business and Economics at the Harvard Business School, along with a smaller selection of titles from the Seligman Collections (Columbia University and Hiroshima University), Yale University, and the University of Kansas.
The collection includes monographs, political pamphlets, serials, government publications and ephemera. MOMW II broadens the content to include reports, speeches and surveys. Most of the materials fall under the categories of theoretical and descriptive economics covering such topics as banking, finance, transportation and manufacturing. These works are written in 17 different Europeans languages, with an estimated 30% of the content of MOMW I, and 50% of MOMW II in non-English languages.
MOMW is a valuable resource for research in economic, political, and legal history. As an example of the depth of the collection, it appears to present the complete body of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, with over twenty editions spanning the period from 1776 to 1848 and translations into German, French, Italian and Spanish.
The content could be applied to various inquiries including wealth, trade, labor, early industrialization and growth of technology, gender roles, and area studies. In full text searches the terms yielding the most hits--around thirty thousand results each--include trade, war and rent. The collection also would be a valuable resource for colonial research, as it contains works about many former colonies including those from the Americas, Africa, India and the East Indies. MOMW II provides insights into the expansion of industrialization, as well as labor issues and fiscal crises.
Concerning the question of overlap between this sizeable digital collection and other resources, Xiong’s review in In Xiong’s comparative review in The Charleston Advisor compared MOMW I with Google Books in 2010. Under a keyword search for “economics,” Google Books yielded only 889 titles published up to 1850 which are available in Google Books' Full View (vs. snippet), compared to 2265 in MOMW I. Furthermore, while there was overlap of authors and titles between the two digital collections, there was no duplication of the specific editions from MOMW I in Google Books, which may be surprising –except that Gale claims that its prestigious source libraries included many unique primary source items. Xiong acknowledged that metadata variations may have been a factor in the results. At the same time, Google Books has continued to add titles whereas MOMW is a fixed, albeit very large, collection.