Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Making Links between digital projects

Participants from as far afield as Spain and Tasmania converged for a conference, "Making Links," at the University of Victoria in April of this year to explore ways in which the growing wealth of digital editions can be coordinated and linked.

When they were able to resist the seduction of Victoria's late spring blooms and sunshine, scholars focused on the family of digital editions hosted at the University of Victoria: the Internet Shakespeare Editions, Digital Renaissance Editions (discussed elsewhere in this issue), the Queen's Men Editions, and our latest addition, Shakespeare in/au Québec. There were many contributions from other institutions and projects, however. Scholars like Jesús Tronch at the University of Valencia demonstrated projects exciting opportunities for creative and collaborative inter-linking. Tronch's "Early Modern European Theatre collection" is an open-access, hypertextual, and multilingual collection of early modern European theatre—and many of its English-language texts originate with the Internet Shakespeare Editions.

James Mardock, Associate Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno, led the conference a witty plenary lecture: "Cyborgs are the New Codex: Reading Machines and the Editing of Early Modern Texts"—among other important questions he raised was whether Hamlet could pass a Turing test.

In keeping with the emphasis the Internet Shakespeare Editions places on recording infomation about Shakespeare's plays in performance, several scholars explored ways in which a digital text can uniquely foreground the dynamic way a text changes in different productions. Theater records and multimedia annotations are not only important for scholarly enquiry, but uniquely valuable for teaching, as students see in action the kaleidoscopic way that a text can be transformed in performance.

The "take-away" from the conference was not only that interlinking the burgeoning number of projects publishing open-access materials on Early Modern literature is essential, but that it is eminently doable.