There are already very impressive examples of open knowledge in the form of
projects such as wikipedia, publicwhip, the world-wide molecular matrix etc.

However it would be nice to have something a little simpler, some sort of
‘hello world’ type open knowledge project, which would illustrate what we mean
by open knowledge and why it is useful. Such a project in addition to its
illustrative role would provide a very valuable use-case for tools and
processes involved in open knowledge development. It would also be a good
opportunity to try and pick a project that could be easily packaged for reuse
by others — this being something which slightly differentiates it from the
above examples.

To this end after various discussions the idea of working with Shakespeare was
mooted. Shakespeare seems to fit the bill pretty well:

  • (Almost) Universal — everyone knows shakespeare
  • Shakespeare’s out of copyright but there is still some legal issues to illustrate the problems of closed knowledge
  • Plenty of need for versioning, bugfixing etc
  • Nice idea of an overall package consisting of the texts, commentary, search tool

Thus back in December the first bare outlines of a project were sketched out in the incubator:

Since then a bit of work has been done — mainly in spare time here and there
— and we now have the rudiments of a package:

Website | + posts

Rufus Pollock is Founder and President of Open Knowledge.

3 thoughts on “Open Shakespeare”

  1. Well, I think that’s a good idea. Getting everything under one hat and into one domain might make searching for Shakespeare, his works and the various research results a lot esier.

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