Contents of this site
This site presents 510 collaborately curated plays written by contemporaries or near-contemporaries of William Shakespeare. Martin Mueller, professor emeritus of English and Classics at Northwestern University, is the general editor of Shakespeare His Contemporaries (SHC for short). The curatorial work represents the efforts of students at Northwestern University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Amherst College in Massachusetts. A list of the contributors appears on the Credits page.
The home page tells you what the Shakespeare His Contemporaries project is about, the process of curation by the students, and how you can help improve the texts.
Curation and quality assurance describes the errors and defects corrected in the texts, and what problems await correction.
Linguistic annotation describes the processing performed on the texts, including tokenization, lemmatization, and part of speech assignment.
The history page tells you when updated versions of this site have appeared.
The licenses page describes the licenses for the edited texts and the software used on this site to display them.
You may contact us if you have comments or questions.
You're currently reading the how-to page, which descibes the site contents and how to use its facilities.
Browsing, searching, and displaying the texts
You may browse the works in the Shakespeare His Contemporaries collection. You may also search the texts for words and phrases. Enter a "?" to match a single unknown character, or a "*" to match one or more unknown characters. You may not use an "*" as the first character of a word to match.
You may filter your searches by choosing a criterion from the drop-down list which appears when you select the "Author" label. The site will present known words as you type in the filter field.
The filter criteria include:
- Author. Enter all or part of an author's name.
- Title. Enter words from the title.
- Creation date. Enter the creation date as a four-digit year, e.g., 1552. You may select all titles in a ten-year span using a wildcard: 155* selects all the texts with a creation date from 1550 to 1559 inclusive. You can also use a | to separate multiple choices. For example, 1551|1552|1553 selects all the texts published in 1551, 1552, and 1553.
- File name. Enter the SHC file name. SHC file names take the form yyy-aaaaaa where yyy is a decade number such as 155 for 1550 through 1559 and aaaaaa is the TCP filename. For example, the file name for Ralph Roister Doister is 155-A14193 where 155 is the first three digits of the creation date (1552) and A14193 is the TCP file identifier. You do not need to know the decade to search, just the TCP identifier. As you enter the TCP identifier, the site will present the matching full file name if it exists in the SHC collection.
- Keyword. Currently 118 texts in the SHC collection have
associated keywords specified in Library of Congress subject heading format.
You can search for the words inside keyword entries.
For example, document 157-A21238 entitled
The Queen's Entertainment at Woodstock
contains two subject headings:
- Elizabeth, -- I, -- Queen of England, -- 1533-1603 -- Early works to 1800.
- English drama -- 16th century -- Early works to 1800.
- Subgenre. All of the works in the Shakespeare His Contemporaries collection are plays. Each play has also been assigned to a subgenre. At present these include: closet drama; comedy; dialogue; entertainment; history play; interlude; masque; preface to a collection of plays; tragedy; and tragicomedy.
- Curator. Enter the name of a curator to see the texts curated by that individual. Actions taken by curators included filling in missing words, replacing illegible characters, editing printer's errors, and so on.
- Proofreader. Enter the name of a proofreader to see the texts proofed by that individual. Proofreaders compared the digital transcription with the original printed pages. Not all texts in the SHC collection have been proofread.
- Final grade. Each text has an associated final grade representing the text's state of correction. See the discussion on the Curation and Quality Assurance page for details. Final grades are A, B, C, D, and F.
Once you have chosen a text of interest, select its title to display the formatted text. Select view_list to display the table of contents for the text. Select view_list again to hide the table of contents.
Select the right arrow navigate_next or left arrow navigate_before to move from section to section. A section is generally an act or a scene, but may also be a song, a preface, a castlist, or a dedication. SHC texts also contain two sections not present in the original text: a machine-generated castlist, and a list of text corrections.
The default display shows the original spellings of the words. Select the Options drop-down settings and choose "Show standard spellings" to display modernized spellings instead.
Select import_contacts to switch to a page-by-page display of the text. The pages correspond to page breaks in the original printed version of the text. Select import_contacts again to return to a section by section display.
Select zoom_in to increase the size of the displayed text. Select zoom_out to decrease the size of the displayed text.
Select print to create an Adobe acrobat version of the formatted text (original spelling only at this time). This allows you to print the text conveniently.
Select book to create an EPUB version of the formatted text (original spelling only at this time).
Select code to download the TEI encoded version of the text.
Select toc to return to the browse page so you can select another text to display.