Los Angeles Times: Shakespeare died 401 years ago, but original scripts from his era live on in a new digital archive. “Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Middleton and Thomas Nashe — despite the best efforts of high school and college English teachers — remain also-rans compared with William Shakespeare, whose fame keeps growing…. On Sunday, the Folger Shakespeare Library — the august institution based in Washington, D.C., that includes a research institute as well as a celebrated theater — will try again to change this. Last year, on the widely celebrated 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the library offered a digital archive of the playwright’s work. This year, on the 401st, the Folger will open a Digital Anthology of Early English Drama, which makes original scripts and visual images from 40 plays available to anyone with Internet access.” The site is live now.
The St. Augustine Record: New digital archive to put worldwide focus on the state’s early history. “The names, occupations, ages and origins of many colonial Floridians, including St. Augustinians, will be a key part of a new online archive and database slated to launch this fall. ‘The overall goal here is to create a biographical dictionary of anyone who ever set foot in Spanish Florida between Ponce de Leon in 1513 and 1821 (when Spanish rule ended),’ said J. Michael Francis, Ph.D., of The University of South Florida. ‘That could quite easily be 20,000 to 25,000 people when it is done,’ he said.”
Now available: a digital archive of Czech artist Petr Brandl. This article is in Czech, but translates decently enough. This quote is also translated: “The approaching 350th anniversary of the birth of the Baroque painter Petra Brandla National Gallery purchased a complete online database of artwork and also publishes two-volume monograph by art historian Jaromíra Neumanna, who after his death remained in manuscript.”
A digital archive of shipwreck journals is now online. “The Western Australian Museum and the Netherlands National Archives is creating a digital archive of journals and documents relating to the ships and shipwrecks associated with the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) in Australia.” Looks like there are three online so far, 2 from 1727 and one from 1658.
I remain in awe of what some brilliant people can do with Minecraft. It will be used to recreate the Great Fire of London. “The Great Fire began in Thomas Farriner’s bakery on Pudding Lane on September 2, 1666. The city burned for three days, the flames spreading rapidly west and consuming the homes of approximately 70,000 of London’s then-80,000 population. It also burned through landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral.”
The National Library of Wales has released a big collection of Welsh almanacs. 178 of ’em, according to the announcement on Twitter. “Thomas Jones’s almanac, usually published under the title Newyddion oddiwrth y sêr (News from the stars), consisted of 20 or 24 leaves. It contained an astronomical and astrological guide for twelve months, lists of fairs and markets in Wales and the Borders, samples of Welsh poetry and literature, a chronology of important historical events, a guide to reading Welsh and keeping accounts, a list of the law terms, the names of Welsh bishops, and miscellaneous advertisements. It was aimed at poor farmers who relied on detailed weather forecasts for their livelihood, and who also held a superstitious belief in astrology.” The almanacs kept here span from 1681 to 1781. And, as you might imagine, they are in Welsh. I took a look at the one from 1681 and it was in surprisingly good shape, with the writing very readable. Unfortunately, the readable writing was in Welsh, so it didn’t do me any good…
In development: a digital archive of historical Arabic manuscripts. “St. Catherine’s Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s located on rugged terrain at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt, houses the oldest continually operating library in the world, containing ancient and medieval manuscripts second only to those held by the Vatican Library. These remarkable manuscripts, which delve into subjects ranging from history and philosophy to medicine and spirituality, were never easily accessed by scholars and students… That will all be changing, thanks to a major grant from the Ahmanson Foundation to the UCLA Library. The grant will fund key aspects of the Sinai Library Digitization Project to create digital copies of some 1,100 rare and unique Syriac and Arabic manuscripts dating from the fourth to the 17th centuries.”