Can one desire too much of a good thing?

Image of spiced syrup cakes

An image of spiced syrup cakes – definitely too much of a good thing!

Our blog post title (from As You Like It (Act IV, Scene 1) reflects our desire for your feedback on our Will’s World Registry online hack event. We have had some fantastic comments back already – by email, Google+ and, mainly, via our survey – but we are still hoping for more!

Please do pass along the survey link,, to friends, colleagues or any mailing lists or groupd you think may be interested in working with data on Shakespeare.

Whilst we begin the process of analysing surveys and other comments we did want to share a few interesting ideas of new ways to work with Shakespeare data that you have already told us about…

We’ve heard about some fantastic work, led by Faith Lawrence, to programmatically analyse Shakespeare’s work to see if it passes the Bechdel test, originally conceived as a test for movies in one of Alison Bechdel’s regular comic strips. A movie (or cultural object) passes the test if:  (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. Of course for Shakespeare this throws up lots of interesting issues as his plays regularly feature characters cross dressing and playing with their gender and/or identity. Read more in Chris Gutteridge’s blogpost and Faith Lawrence’s paper presented at the Narrative and Hypertext Workshop, Hypertext 2011.

Meanwhile an email with a jokey comment about Christopher Marlowe had us wondering if comparing or analysing the Will’s World Registry with data on any of those who have, at some point, been rumoured to be the real author of Shakespeare’s work might throw up some interesting data… with that in mind we’d welcome any data sets you may have on Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon or Edward de Vere…

Wanted poster based on "Christopher Marlowe, dramatist, poet" by Flickr user lisby1 / Lisby   Wanted Poster based on "Sr Francis Bacon" by Flickr user Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara / Skara kommun    Wanted Poster based on "Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford" by Flickr user lisby1 / Lisby

We’ve also had a number of really thoughtful responses on the practical considerations of running an online hack – some of the risks and opportunities around doing this. If you have any thoughts or concerns on the idea please do leave us comments, complete the survey or email us with any feedback.

In other news… we hear that we have inspired another hack event already!  The SPRUCE project folk spotted our tweet about a Will’s World online hack event and decided to set up their own one day remote hackathon, on 16th November, to make file format identification better (crucial for preservation). You can find more information about their #fileidhack on the event wiki.

And finally… if you find yourself in London next week then there is a special  Late: Shakespeare beyond the city taking place on Friday 2nd November, from 6pm until 9pm in the British Museum Great Court. A variety of creative interpretations of Shakespeare will be taking part with contributions from the National Theatre and RADA students and creative potential Will’s World Hackers will particularly be interested in the prop-making workshop.

Image credits for this post: 

Wanted poster and thumbnail version of wanted poster based on “Christopher Marlowe, dramatist, poet” by Flickr user lisby1 / Lisby; Wanted Poster based on “Sr Francis Bacon” by Flickr user Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara / Skara kommun; Wanted Poster based on “Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford” by Flickr user lisby1 / Lisby