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Open Literature Bulletin: 2011-07-29

James Harriman-Smith - July 29, 2011 in Community, Minutes

News this week:

Some things that you might like to do:

  • Join us for a chat on Skype at 5pm on Monday 1st August (6pm in the UK, 7pm in Western Europe, 1pm in Massachusetts)
  • Email your comments on our mock-up edition of Hamlet to this list:
  • Comment on / email observations about the state of our application to Inventare il Futuro:
  • Tell me whether you think a print-on-demand edition of word of the day articles as a ‘Shakespeare A-Z’ would be a good idea / promotional tool for Open Shakespeare.

Open Literature Bulletin: 2011-07-22

James Harriman-Smith - July 22, 2011 in Community, Minutes

This bulletin was originally sent as an email to the members of the open-literature list. To join it, visit:

A Special announcement

OKF Text Camp – 13th August 2011, 10am-6pm, London
Tickets (free) on:
Details on:

Sundry news

  • now carries minutes of meetings, and copies of these mails under
  • now includes an archive of promotional material, and all the previous contents of the Open Shakespeare wiki
  • H G Wells society sent us an email on Monday saying that they are very interested by and that they will discuss using the anotator on their online editions of his works.
  • Open Shakespeare’s new words of the day this week: Vizard, Xantippe, Yoke, and Zany: all on – which now has one entry for every letter of the alphabet
  • In September, Open Shakespeare will carry a series of guest blog posts on the topic ‘Shakespeare and the Internet’: I have seven confirmed contributors from many different walks of life (actors, academics, bloggers) and look forward to organising others, especially those with a computer science background (if that’s you, let me know).

A few ideas on how to get involved:

  • Contribute a blog post on ‘Shakespeare and the Internet’: anything of between 500 and 1000 words in length that fits into this category will be very welcome. Just drop me a mail with any questions.
  • Book a place at Text Camp 2011, or suggest an activity
  • Write a WOTD article (some ideas: elephant, quail, garter)
  • Annotate a Shakespeare play: we’re getting near 700 individual comments now!

Announcing…Text Camp 2011

James Harriman-Smith - July 22, 2011 in Community, News

The OKF’s first ever ‘Text Camp’ hopes to bring together many different people, all interested in the relationship between digital technologies and literature, with a strong focus on the creation of open knowledge.

When? 13th August 2011, 10am – 6pm Where? To be Confirmed Website: Register:

During the day, we hope to create, discuss and maybe even publish ‘open literature’, which is to say that we will work on both texts that are in (and about) the public domain, and on the open-source tools for the analysis and appreciation of these works.

Planned activities include:

  • Discussion and/or hacking of 2 231 texts recently released from Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO) with the help of the Text Creation Partnership
  • Coming up with ideas for and perhaps composing a web based narrative.
  • Writing a guide to creative commons and related licenses as regards literary productions.
  • Working out how to build an online community around a work of literature, with advice on the process of receiving edits to one’s own online work.
  • And, of course, much much more…

Why not suggest your own ideas? or take a look at the wiki for the event?

Meeting: 2011-07-18

James Harriman-Smith - July 19, 2011 in Community, Minutes


Rufus Pollock
James Harriman-Smith


Establish long-term aims for Open Literature
Establish short term actions


Integration into schools
Integration into universities
Spread internationally
Improvements to annotator: profile page, facebook



Write to annotator-dev re: treasure hunt
Text Camp: write Iain, write Kat for use of room on Friday 12th / Saturday 13th August
Skype-up: organise for Tuesdays – if that works for Iain


Connect to more blogs, write about them
Guest introducer for Hamlet prototype
More guest writers: introductions and blogs
List volunteering options on openliterature sidebar


Finish Introductions
Finish WOTDs: yoke, zany
Write Openlit / S piece


Invoice Rufus
Enter NESTA meeting people into highrise, tag with openlit, note date
Expand openlit wiki: move from (use open spending as a model), blurbs, links to pictures/big pdfs on
Create openshakespeare editor profile on annotateIT


NESTA application with arts partner (?)
Complete Inventare application


Install wordpress on local machine
Run tests for UI on balsamiq
Publish Hamlet prototype


RP: Fix Henry VI Introductions
RP: automate WOTD
RP: Fix stats page
RP: Change anonymous annotation users to Shakespeare

Annotations Sprint III: Hamlet: Aftermath

James Harriman-Smith - July 19, 2011 in Community, Shakespeare

See where this is going: a ground-breaking edition of Hamlet



Thursday 14th July saw our third annotation sprint, which pushed our annotation count up to 649 from 440. This means an average of over 200 comments per sprint, but, as previous sprints lasted for two days, this also suggests that this sprint had the highest level of participation yet.

The participants themselves, to judge from the analytics, were comprised of our regulars and 60 unique new visitors, many of whom must have stayed a little while in order to push the average time spent on the website up to five minutes for that day. As regards the provenance of these newcomers, thirty-seven were from the UK, fourteen from the States and the rest from all over the world, with five from India. Chrome was, surprisingly perhaps, the most popular browser, followed by Firefox, IE and then Safari.

Enough statistics. It was great to see the number of annotations shoot up, and I feel that we are almost at the point where we can produce at least a prototype edition of Hamlet!

Open Literature: 10th – 17th July

James Harriman-Smith - July 18, 2011 in Community, News

A quick summary of progress so far, followed by a short list of ways to get involved.


  • Annotation sprint on Open Shakespeare: now around 650 annotations on Hamlet – thanks to all who took part! Blog post coming soon.
  • More new words: jump, kated, neapolitan, quondam (with urine forthcoming).
  • New website layout FOR Open Shakespeare: front page much neater now.
  • New volunteers!
  • Draft application for ‘inventare il futuro’ competition at the University of Bologne, featuring Open Shakespeare as prototype for ‘Open Reading’ idea.
  • New essay on Shakespeare and the city…


Some ideas about getting involved:

  • 1min: annotate Hamlet.
  • 2min follow @openshakespeare on twitter
  • 10min: what do you think the impact of copyright is on literature? reply to this mail or add your thoughts to our openliterature wiki

“Time travels in diverse paces”: An Update on Open Shakespeare

openliterature - June 26, 2011 in Community, Musings, News, Shakespeare

May and a month that has only belatedly met the standard of what Shakespeare calls “hot Junes” have passed since last I wrote an update about Open Shakespeare. As ever, quite a bit has been done on the project, and there remains much more to do in the future.

If one word could sum up the work of May and June, it would be ‘users’. These two months have seen our online presence, especially on twitter, grow: over four hundred and twenty annotations have now been written, and we have been followed by, amongst others, a Tory MP and the artistic director of the Boston Actors’ Shakespeare Project. In order to provide a regular stream of new content for our followers, weekly articles on Shakespeare’s words have been posted over the last eight weeks, those on “dawn” and “drawer” attracting the most interest.

There is no single word with which to encompass our plans for the future. A study of how people use the website, and especially the annotator, is currently underway, the conclusions of which will soon be presented at OKCON 2011, and – if all goes well – in journal format also. One recommendation will be to establish ready-made categories for annotations, in order to make organisation of the comments much easier. Whilst studying the data, it also occurred to me that the website could be extended with the incorporation of famous past annotations, such as those comments made by Johnson and Pope when they each edited Shakespeare’s works in the eighteenth century.

Of course, we need not only incorporate the annotations of Johnson and Pope into Open Shakespeare: we could also expand Open Shakespeare to Open Literature and include their creative work too. Indeed, just such an expansion is likely to take place over the summer, and we would love to hear about any ideas people have for Open Literature: whether, for example, there is a particular (out of copyright) author you would like to see uploaded soon or whether you simply have some thoughts about the layout of it all. As ever, you can get in touch through the website, post to the open literature mailing list, or best of all, add to the new Open Literature Wiki.

Announcing…Annotation Sprint II

openliterature - February 26, 2011 in Community, News, Publicity

Change Criticism Forever – Participate in the next Open Shakespeare Annotation Sprint

Our modus operandi is the same as ever: all the instructions are here.

Following on from the first annotation sprint, we will be annotating Hamlet

On Saturday 19th March we’re holding the second Open Shakespeare Annotation Sprint — participate and help change criticism forever! We’ll be getting together online and in-person to collaborate on critically annotating a complete Shakespeare play with all our work being open.

All of Shakespeare’s texts are, of course, in the public domain, and therefore already open. However, most editions of Shakespeare that people actually use (and purchase) are ‘critical’ editions, that is texts together with notes and annotations that explain or analyze the text, and, for these critical editions no open version yet exists. On the 19th March we will continue to change all that!

Using the annotator tool we now have a way to work collaboratively online to add and develop these ‘critical’ additions and the aim of the sprint is to fully annotate one complete play. Anyone can get involved, from lay-Shakespeare-lover to English professor, all you’ll need is a web-browser and an interest in the Bard!

Using specially-designed annotation software we intend to print an edition of Shakespeare unlike any other, incorporating glosses, textual notes and other information written by anyone able to connect to the website.

Work begins with a full-day annotation sprint on Saturday 19th March, which will take online as well as at in-person meetups. Anyone can organize a meetup and we’re organizing one in Cambridge, England – more details forthcoming (if you’d like to hold your own please just add it to the etherpad linked above).

Minutes of Meeting: 2011-2-13

openliterature - February 23, 2011 in Community, Minutes

Present: JHS, JB, RP

Annotation Sprint

Overall, a success, but could certainly benefit from an extended period of build-up and publicity.
A radio report on the event can be found here:
TCS (The Cambridge Student Newspaper) published an article on us too, available as a pdf here:


A new programmer will be working on the annotation tool, aiming to implement tagging.
Other useful features could include: line reference, filtering…


New word of the day logo!

British Library

RP and JHS will be speaking at the British Library on Thursday 24th February. Do get in touch with anything you’d like us to speak about.

How to Participate in the Annotation Sprint

openliterature - February 5, 2011 in Community, Publicity, Technical

The votes are in! We are annotating Hamlet

Until 11:30am you can: Vote for the play to be annotated

Any feedback, or thoughts? Use the etherpad to leave your thoughts about the event.

How to Participate

Step 0: Check your browser

To participate in the annotation sprint, you will need a recent version of Firefox or Chrome or Safari.

Step One: Login to Open Shakespeare [optional]

[optional]: you don’t need to login — but if you don’t your contributions will be anonymous.

To login you’ll need to obtain an OpenID if you don’t have one. Here’s how:

  1. Visit

  2. Click on the button ‘Sign up for an OpenID’

  3. Follow their instructions to create an OpenID by which you will be known when annotating

Now you’ve got an OpenID you can login:

  1. Go to our login page

  2. Click on the ‘OpenID’ button

  3. Copy and paste, or type out your OpenID, which looks like a web address

Step Two: Start Annotating!

  1. Go to our works page and click on ‘annotate’ beneath the chosen play

  2. All the instructions are written on the side of the page in the ‘Annotation: Howto’ column