The Bodleian First Folio on tour

Happy birthday to Shakespeare, 451 today!

FF-portrait-blogWhile our friends at the Folger Shakespeare Library are planning their nationwide First Folio tour, the Bodleian First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays (Arch. G c.7) has been the subject of a series of international presentations and discussions. Thanks to the generosity of the public, the Bodleian First Folio was conserved, digitized, and published online, open to anyone in the world with an internet connection.

The geography of the digital resource’s readers is widening, as word of it spreads. Public lecture venues have included Perth and Sydney (during a Short Stay Visiting Fellowship at the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Advanced Studies), and Oxford. The long history of this copy of the First Folio was the subject of research seminars at the University of Edinburgh, and at the Shakespeare Association of America conference in Vancouver, where it was considered alongside other digital resources including the excellent Meisei Shakespeare Folios Electronic Library.

The intersection of the digital and material in the First Folio has been the subject of experimentation in a collaboration between Pip Willcox and the Oxford e-Research Centre‘s Professor David De Roure. The results are discussed in a forthcoming article, and in two conference papers: at the University of Southampton’s Physical Archives in the Digital Age conference, Chawton House; and at the National Library of Ireland Galway‘s upcoming Digital Material conference.

David De Roure will be presenting on the long history of social machines of the First Folio at a Scholarly Communications Workshop Focusing on the Humanities in Boston next month.De-Roure-Willcox-materiality

You can see the Bodleian First Folio in the Weston Library‘s Marks of Genius exhibition, which is free and open to the public daily.

—Pip Willcox

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