Internet Shakespeare Editions gifted to UVic

 Michael Best

The creators of one of the earliest digital humanities projects in Canada, which documents the life, times and works of William Shakespeare, have gifted the project to the University of Victoria.

Emeritus Professor Michael Best (pictured centre) began his Shakespeare project on floppy disks more than 30 years ago in the Department of English with graphic designer Roberta Livingstone. The team made the technological leap to CD-ROM six years later.

The resource eventually grew into the website Internet Shakespeare Editions (ISE). Devoted to Shakespeare and his works, ISE received millions of hits every year from scholars around the world.

Faculty of Humanities Associate Dean Research Alex D’Arcy says the project, which includes stage directions, liner notes and annotations about Shakespeare’s works, was visionary.

“They were innovators within the humanities, bringing text into the digital world and enabling scholars to interact directly with it in a multimedia format,” she says. “At a time when many people were coming to terms with email, Michael Best was setting milestones for digital humanists to come.”

Speaking at an Oct. 7 celebration at UVic Libraries, Best thanked everyone who contributed to the success of ISE, including the programmers and designers who helped bring the site to life.

He said the donation of the ISE website and its infrastructure to UVic Libraries and the Faculty of Humanities will “give a sense of home and security” to the project while maintaining ISE’s commitment to publishing open-access, peer-reviewed Shakespeare resources of the highest quality.

D’Arcy says an updated version of the ISE will be housed within the Linked Early Modern Drama Online (LEMDO) project, which is directed by English Associate Professor Janelle Jenstad and is housed and supported by the Humanities Computing and Media Centre.