[okfn-help] Open Shakespeare comments (was: [Fwd: Re: hello])

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Wed Sep 3 16:35:47 BST 2008

As a starter I don't know whether you saw the extra text now on the 
front page of:


entitled: "Why Open Shakespeare". It tries to explain how we are 'more' 
than 'yet another shakespeare site'

On 01/09/08 19:30, John Bywater wrote:
> [snip] Wouldn't the thing be more 
> impressive if it were to have the goal of being an interface for "all 
> literature"? Milton/Shakespeare/... could be an options on a tab, 
> "Package" or something.

Yes, absolutely. Iain and I have already been chatting about 
'generalizing' OS/OM to Open Literature. While I think a solid core can 
be factored out experience has shown me that each project is likely to 
have a fair amount of specific stuff. Plus if you become too generic you 
just end up listing texts -- which others, such as Gutenberg already do 
(pace the odd in copyright version and the Gutenberg spiel on the front 
that makes them non-open).

> [snip]http://www.openshakespeare.org/

> But to standardise open access across a very broad range of 
> core texts would augment the standardising functionality of the book (as 
> a machine: turn the right way up, open cover, read contents, read page, 
> turn page, ...), and I'm sure would be a good thing. At least 
> playshakespeare.com specifies content is GFDL. They seem to have put a 

We had a long chat with the guy behind that on okfn-discuss when he 
first did the release. As you say it is under the GFDL though the front 
cover text and back cover text requirement do raise reuse issues (and 
perhaps render it non-open vis-a-vis the OKD).

> lot of work into the content too, but it's a probably just a roll up, 
> and ghastly to look at. Is anybody else actually developing technology 
> (I think we can call CKAN/datapkg/openshakespeare technology) to address 
> this concern? If not, that's the U.S.P. What's the British library doing?
> [goes to look]
> http://www.bl.uk/treasures/shakespeare/timeline.html
> Microfacts with openshakespeare would be much nicer than that. You could 
> click from the timeline on microfacts to the plays on openshakespeare.

I was recently chatting with someone about using Microfacts in this way :)

> [carries on]
> They have photos of the books, which is nice.
> http://molcat1.bl.uk/treasures/shakespeare/record2.asp?LHPage=1&LHCopy=79&RHPage=8&RHCopy=80&disp=d#DispTop 

Most of this is in copyright I would note. For example, their first 
folio scan is all copyrighted (though the status of that copyright is 
debatable). See

> The .asp thing doesn't sound promising for F/OSS. And the "texts" are 
> images and not all minced up like on openshakespeare. And the links go 
> off to misc' shakespeare-specific resources. Seems a bit haphazard. 
> Guess Milton (e.g.) is done differently.
> The variation might be a good thing, but we collect the factlets, and 
> the better elements of interaction, and draw together a much sharper 
> provision.
> http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/timeline/timeline.htm
> We could try to make an Open Literature association, dedicated to this 
> work, which different stakeholders could join. By stating the purpose 
> narrowly, it might appear useful to these different organisations.

Sure. We should definitely make more efforts to get the word out. I 
think someone recently posted to okfn-discuss a useful listed of places 
we could post about OS/OM/OL as a resource.


More information about the okfn-help mailing list