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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: December ::
Call for Advisors: Open Source Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.1070  Saturday, 2 December 2006

From:         Eric M. Johnson <
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 >
Date:         Friday, 1 Dec 2006 08:51:25 -0500
Subject:     Call for Advisors: Open Source Shakespeare

Hello, SHAKSPEReans --
 
Many of you are familiar with Open Source Shakespeare 
(http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org), a free site with the complete 
works, an advanced search function, concordance, and statistics. OSS 
sprang from modest beginnings -- it began life as a graduate-school 
project, and it costs less than $100 a year to operate. The site was 
released in December 2003, and has gone through several revisions since 
then. An announcement on SHAKSPER in February 2004 helped attract 
serious attention to OSS, which has continued to grow in popularity.
 
Last year, about 77,000 people used the site, and this year's total will 
be around 170,000. Although the bulk of the visitors are from 
English-speaking countries (the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and 
Australia, in that order), OSS has attracted a truly worldwide audience, 
with significant usage from throughout Europe, of course, but also 
Japan, China, Brazil, South Korea, India, South Africa, Israel, and others.
 
As the creator of the site, I would like to see it continue to flourish, 
and I believe the only way that will happen is if I can attract the help 
of others. I am not a professional Shakespeare scholar, nor do I play 
one on the Web, so I would welcome the assistance of others who might be 
interested in helping with an overhaul and expansion of the site. My 
goal is to gather an informal group of advisors who could help guide 
this process.
 
You may have already guessed that there is absolutely no money involved 
here. I cover the costs out of my own pocket, and OSS has no 
institutional support, much less funding. However, because of OSS's 
popularity, it might be a good bullet point for a C.V. or resume. If you 
actively contribute, I would post your name on the site (unless you 
don't want it there). The goal is to attract a range of advisors from 
academia and the theatre. Based on my e-mail messages over the last 
three years, OSS has a substantial following in both realms.
 
Here are some developments that we could consider:

+ incorporation of other texts such as folios and quartos;
+ including annotations, possibly contributed by users;
+ expanding the concordance function; and
+ providing more useful statistical analysis.
 
If someone wanted to act as an editor for the site, the duties could 
include expanding the links section to make it more comprehensive, and 
editing the texts for errors and omissions.
 
Down the road, I would like to explore the idea of formalizing OSS, 
including seeking grants and sources of funding for its sustainment and 
future development. Please send a message to 

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  if you are interested in becoming an 
advisor, or if you simply have a suggestion for OSS. Many thanks for 
your consideration.
 
Regards,
Eric Johnson

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