Sarah Werner (@wynkenhimself) has written a post, “what do digitized first folios do for us?,” detailing her piece in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s First Folio. Werner’s post and her piece in the Companion highlight why first folios are digitized, the complexities of the digitization process, and questions about access to the digitized material.
We are at a moment when digital facsimiles of the First Folio have been created primarily to act as surrogates for the physical books and to be encountered as discrete copies. But we are moving toward a time when digital facsimiles are going to be seen as digital objects in their own right: not as surrogates for a printed book or manuscript, but as different ways to experience that object. For some uses, the material text might be better suited; for others, a digital image might be a better choice. In order for that to happen, digital facsimiles are going to need to enable a range of different uses and they are going to have to provide metadata and interoperability that will allow users to shift from being passive consumers to active agents of their uses.
Werner closes by sharing the negotiation process with Cambridge University Press that allows her to publish and self-archive her contribution to the Companion. The example email she shares could be a model for librarians and archivists negotiating alternative contracts for their own publications.