The Playgoer: Google Shakespeare

Custom Search

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Google Shakespeare

Google's getting smart with Shakespeare and with theatre. Launching their "Explore Shakespeare" portal right in sync with the Summer Shakespeare season--replete with a corporate sponsorship of no less than the Public Theatre's summer in the park--they're banking on the Bard's staying power in the digital age. You can read more about it here.

Of course, complete Shakespeare playtexts have been available online for years already. (Mine of choice is the MIT site.) That's not quite what you get on Google, due to their ongoing feud with publishers over rights to archive all books. The full texts they do offer are basically PDF's--which are fine for reading, but harder for using. I've found the main value of online Shakespeare text is the ability to cut & paste and then edit--for instance, when you're directing or adapating the plays. (As opposed to typing it all out from scratch.) I'm sure others have been as grateful for the MIT site for the same reason.

So the Google site is what it is for now, basically a hub for the basic kinds of Google searches you would probably do on your own about Shakespeare. But interesting portents of things to come? Let's hope they don't lose interest in this project when the men-in-tights fests wind down.

No comments: