Digital Renaissance Editions

Become a FriendSign in


6.3. Supplementary materials

6.3. Supplementary materials

The electronic space permits virtually unlimited room for the provision of additional materials of value to the edition. All of these can be directly linked from the modern text of the play — and of course can be linked back to any of the versions of the text. These may include annotated appendices of background materials (most commonly, source materials, documents relating to the historical and intellectual context of the play, documents relating to the play's staging, and documents relating to the critical reception of the play). The background material shall not include modern critical essays and as a general rule shall not include material that is sufficiently recent so as to be under copyright. Other materials may include a chronology and an annotated bibliography.

Many early English materials are already published online in electronic versions, and some of these provide freely-available texts you can use as a basis for your own. Look especially at the resources of Project Gutenberg, the Luminarium Anthology of English Literature, and the Renascence Editions.

6.3.1. Source materials

One of the major strengths of the Digital Renaissance Editions will be the ability of the Editor (or collaborators) to provide extensive excerpts from sources and other contemporary materials that in one way or another illuminate the play. In due course a library of early literature will be developed, of which many files will be of use in more than one play: Plutarch, Holinshed, and Ovid are obvious examples. To increase their pedagogical value, these materials should be lightly annotated to facilitate understanding by a university or college student.

Source material may be abbreviated where necessary by omission or summary (in square brackets). While a modernized text is preferable, you may use old spelling if you prefer, with a minimum of editorial alteration (collated where necessary), but you should modernize u/v, i/j and long s; expand contractions; and normalize unusual typography. Give foreign language sources in translation, with an indication where the original may be found.

6.3.2. Illustrative contemporary documents from the period

You are encouraged to include documents and contemporary illustrations of materials that inform our understanding of specific issues within the plays. Written materials not yet in the electronic public domain may be re-edited; copyright permission must be obtained for graphics. A good example of an edition that provides a wide range of supporting documentation is Frances E. Dolan's edition of The Taming of the Shrew for the Bedford Shakespeare series (1996).

6.3.3. An annotated bibliography

The intention here is to provide scholars and students with a flexible tool for deciding what further reading they may wish to pursue. The bibliography should be comprehensive, and should include influential or typical earlier works, as well as more detailed selections from works written in the last thirty years.

The annotations should give the reader a general sense both of the material covered and the approach taken by the author. Each entry will be accompanied by keywords that will assist the reader in searching (see Appendix A, section 4).

6.3.4. Graphics, sound, video

Guidelines for the inclusion of illustrative materials in graphic, sound, and video formats will be developed as the site is established. All materials of this kind will be accompanied by explanatory text, from a simple caption to an extended discussion, and all will be tagged with keywords that will assist a user in a search. It will be important to include as much information about the material as possible.

It is your responsibility to obtain photographic prints (and permissions to reproduce them) for any illustrations or facsimiles that you wish to include. Contact the Coordinating Editor on the format for submitting graphic material.

In the collection of multimedia materials, it is important to keep full records of their provenance. Some of the best sites on the Internet which deal with multimedia are showing the way to an effective system of archiving the materials. See the ISE's database of Shakespeare in Performance) and the Performing Arts Data Service for good examples.

6.3.5. File formats

As we plan for the future of the site, we are archiving all multimedia data in high quality formats wherever possible, to allow for future advances in the quality of Internet connections, and the possibility of upgrading our materials. In all cases, we will save files you send to us in whatever format they arrive (though we prefer the formats listed below); we will, if necessary, re-encode them in our standard format for archival purposes. Editors curious to find out more about the various formats will find that the Wikipedia gives up-to-date and reliable information.

a) Graphics

Where possible, provide scanned images for your graphics. If you do not have facilities for scanning, the DRE will do them for you, so long as you provide high quality copies (not Xeroxes) of the images. The preferred file format is TIFF, scanned at 600 dots per inch (dpi), since this will provide archival copies of sufficient quality for printing. Files of this size are very large, and will have to be submitted on CDs or DVDs or shared via a Dropbox folder. If you are unable to provide TIFF files, JPEG files will do, so long as they are saved at high quality. 

b) Sound

The ideal format for sound files is in AIFF or WAV format since these are essentially lossless, but you may submit files in the popular MP3 or (preferably) AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) compressed formats; in these formats they should ideally be high quality (high bitrate). Again, files of a large size will have to be submitted on CDs or DVDs or shared via a Dropbox folder.

c) Video

Video formats are still in a state of some flux, especially because the "aspect ratio" (the relationship between height and width) of the image is by no means stable or constant. At the time of writing, we will be putting videos online using the proprietary format Flash (as used currently on sites like YouTube), but will be archiving them in the much more stable (and bulky) DV format.

6.3.5. Appendices

Consult your Coordinating Editor well before submitting your material about the number, kind, and length of appendices. These may include:

  1. Settings for songs, when available. It is your responsibility to submit the setting in final, scan-ready form.
  2. Recording of the copy text lineation, where that is frequently different from the editor's. If an appendix is used for this purpose, the information should not be duplicated in the collation.

6.3.6. An anthology of criticism

An area where the Digital Renaissance Editions will have a great advantage over printed editions will be in the capacity for providing additional critical and scholarly discussions of the plays. The anthology should begin with the earliest reactions to the play and continue, copyright permitting, to the present day. There are virtually no limits to the amount of material that can be put on the site; the Survey of Critical Approaches to the play should, however, provide a starting point for readers, and give an overview of the material that is available in the anthology (see 6.2. above).

Early critics can relatively easily be included from early out-of-copyright editions, with the help of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) scanning. Often, out-of-copyright works have already been scanned and made available by the Internet Archive, which provides an OCR text. The Coordinating Editor may be able to provide assistance in creating the basic files to be proofread. More recent writings will be more of a challenge, but you will find that in many cases authors will be glad to gain the additional public offered by the universality of the Digital Renaissance Editions.

Critical articles will be linked to the plays as appropriate (where passages are referred to or quoted), and to each other. You should also include a list of keywords at the beginning of each passage that will allow for searching for particular periods, authors, kinds of criticism and so on.

6.3.8. Annotations of supplementary materials

Supplementary materials should be lightly annotated for pedagogical use. Gloss difficult or archaic words, keeping such annotation to a reasonable minimum. 

Previous | Table of Contents | Next