09 Multicultural Shakespeare


Multicultural Shakespeare

Volume 9, Issue 24 (Dec 2012)


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  1. Theatre Reviews
  2. A Holonic Approach to Shakespeare: The Digital Reference System (DRS) by Forés López, Vicente and Saiz Molina, Jose.

  3. Theatre Reviews by Heijes, Coen/ Georgopoulou, Xenia and Konstantinidis, Nektarios-Georgios
  4. Nothing like the Sun: Shakespeare in Spain Today by González, José Manuel
  5. “What country, friends, is this?”: Australian and New Zealand Productions of Twelfth Night in the Twentieth Century by Carnegie, David

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A Holonic Approach to Shakespeare: The Digital Reference System (DRS)

Forés López, Vicente / Saiz Molina, Jose

Page 61

Published Online: 12/28/2012

Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance vol. 9 (24), 2012
DOI: 10.2478/v10224-011-0016-3

Vicente Forés López and Jose Saiz Molina*
A Holonic Approach to Shakespeare:
The Digital Reference System (DRS)
Prefatory Remarks
When hypertext was made available on the Internet after 1994 it shaped the concepts of
public domain and free access. The web server and browsing system that Tim Berners-Lee
and Robert Cailliau designed, determined the future digital, editorial and cultural
developments for traditional audiences and digital natives alike. They quickly became the
generalized interface tools and thus contributed to today’s editorial standards. As they helped
to create this innovative environment called the Internet, they also helped to establish many
standards such as URL, URI, HTTP, HTML or XML, which provided interoperability
amongst different platforms and allowed internationalization.
Shakespeare’s texts became part of the interoperable and open network environment
which took off after Grady Ward compiled and distributed a public domain version of the
Complete Works of William Shakespeare, the so called Moby Shakespeare, which has been
credited as being the most widely distributed version of Shakespeare’s Works in the world. The
concepts such as free use, fair use and worldwide distribution, including many practical any
platform–applications significantly increased the added value of the emergent digital
environment, providing the opportunity to encode, transcode, clone and distribute the best
Shakespearean file(s) in digital environment. Gary Taylor and Ian Lancashire have already
discussed this issue from an ontological point of view, so we spare the reader a repetition of
their arguments.
From a computational perspective, and after analyzing both the functionality and
quality of the Moby Project, we can say that the main advantage of Grady Ward’s proposal is
that it allows Internet users to e a s i l y access the complete unabridged works of
Shakespeare in a digital format (plain text or as TXT), which has produced many important
technological advances since it was first published. The disadvantage is that, as David
Greetham (348) pointed out, Grady Ward adds “nothing” to the editorial methodology
because as a would-be editor he used as the most authoritative text the famous Globe
Edition (1886) edited by W.G. Clark and W.A. Wright. This ideal out-of-copyright edition did
not improve upon the computational modern spelling edition of the Riverside Shakespeare’s
Complete Works by Marvin Spevack (digitized with the IBM 7094 in 1969), nor Trevor
Howard-Hill’s old spelling concordances (generated with the English Electric KDF9 also in
1969), nor the First Folio facsimile published by Sir Sidney Lee in 1902, which continues
to be the most used and popular digital text available for free downloading from the

1 We can also use the Plays of Shakespeare in XML by the distinguished engineer John Bosak (in “XML”
* Vicente Forés López is Associate Professor at the University of Valencia; Jose Saiz Molina holds PhD in English
Studies and is a member of the MultiMediaModules (mmm) team at the University of Valencia.