Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, March 27, 2008

32 OA Hamlets

Josh Fischman, Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be ... Unless You Have 32 Digital Versions of 'Hamlet', Wired Campus, March 26, 2008.

Thirty-two different versions of Hamlet, all printed before 1641, are held in the vaults of the Folger Shakespeare Library, in Washington, and other institutions—and all 32 are going digital with the help of the University of Maryland.

The university announced today that its Institute for Technology in the Humanities will be working with the Folger library to digitize the texts. There is no single authoritative version of the tragedy, since what survived are editions cobbled together by printers from actors’ memories or from marked-up scripts used in various productions. Digitizing the 32 texts—a project financed by the National Endowment for the Humanities—will make it easy for scholars to compare and contrast versions, noting similarities and differences.

The result will be a free, open, and interactive Web site housed at the University of Oxford. And if Hamlet‘s opening proves successful, the project will move on to Henry V, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and the other plays.