Digital Renaissance Editions


About DRE book facsimiles

Digital Renaissance Editions provides a variety of useful features for browsing and viewing our book facsimiles. These features are designed to help you find a particluar play, book copy, or individual page. You can navigate the entire collection, or focus on a single volume at a time. The following information provides an explanation of each method of navigating the facsimiles, and suggests efficient ways of using them.

1. Navigation of the collection

There are several ways to browse our collection; choose the method that works best for your purposes.

Browse by book

Are you interested in a particular book, such as the Second Quarto of The Honest Whore (Part 1) or the 1616 First Folio of Ben Jonsonʼs plays? You can either choose the book you want from the pulldown menu at the top of the page (“Browse by Book”), or click on the menu item itself to see a summary of all available books. You can also find information about the source of each of our book copies.

Browse by play

Are you interested in a particular play, such as An Humorous Dayʼs Mirth? Visit the play overview page, which lists all the plays that appear in at least one of our books. It will link you to each of the books that contain that play. You can click the playʼs name to get more detailed information about the play as it appears in our books.

Search for act/scene/line

Are you interested in reading a particular scene, passage, or line in one of the books? If you know the act and scene number, go to the Browse by Play page and select the play you are interested in. You will find a list of every act and scene in that play, and you can click to view it in whichever book you like. If you only know some of the words from the work you want to view (e.g. “not marching now in fields of Thrasimen”), view the Search page to search the bookʼs text.

Note that we provide advanced text searching of all of transcribed and edited plays, and we can link you to the exact book page in each edition that contains your desired passage.

Compare two books

If you are interested in comparing two pages, plays, or books side by side, visit the Compare page to select two particular books to view in the same window. Note that whenever you are viewing a single page you can choose at any time to compare that page to its equivalent in another book (see the Advanced features).

2. Book navigation

Book Facsimiles are viewed one page at a time. You can step through one page at a time, using the “Prev” and “Next” buttons, or you can jump to a particular page by entering it in the text box after the page number, and clicking “View”.

Click the “advanced navigation” text to display our advanced features for navigating the collection. Click “basic navigation” to hide them.

TLN (Through Line Number)

The Through Line Number records the lines from the start of the play or poem to the end without starting again in a different scene or section. You may jump to a TLN in the current play or work. Enter a valid TLN in the text box, and click “View”. The range of valid TLN numbers is available in the "TLN info" popup box.


To jump to any page in the current book, enter a page number in the text box, and click “View”. The DRE uses a standard “Through Page Number”, since many early works had no printed page numbers, or numbered them erratically. The range of valid page numbers for a given book appears in brackets next to the text box.


Click to view a larger or smaller image of a page, depending on your preferences. Larger images will, of course, take longer to download.

Show text

To compare an image of a page with a plain text version of the page, click the checkbox to show or hide the text. This feature can be useful if you are having difficulty reading the old printing on a page, or if you would like to copy and paste the text of a particular passage. Our plain text displays line numbers.

3. Advanced features

To access the advanced features, click on “Advanced Navigation”. You can switch back to “Basic navigation” to create more room on your screen.

Change work or book

This feature offers several options:

When you switch to view a different edition of the same play, you will be taken to the equivalent page in your new edition. For example, if you are viewing The Honest Whore (Part 1) in the First Quarto and the page you are looking at starts with through line number 1149, if you switch to view the Second Quarto instead, you will be taken to the page of The Honest Whore (Part 1) in that edition that contains the through line number 1149.

Compare to edition

To compare the current page of a play to the equivalent page in a different book, select the book copy you want to compare to and click “View”. A new browser window will pop up, showing the page from each book side by side. You can then navigate each of those two books independently. Our comparison feature will look at the first through line number on your current page to find the best equivalent page match in the book you want to compare.

Search in book

To search the current play you are viewing for particular words or phrases, type in a search-engine style search phrase and click “Search”; you will see the search results and can then view each result on its corresponding page in the book.