|Computers & Texts No. 15
Professor Jonathan Bate
The Arden Shakespeare
We read Jean Chothia's review of The Arden Shakespeare CD-ROM: Texts and Sources for Shakespeare Studies with considerable interest and some regret. Whilst not the original developers of the CD-ROM (that credit lies firmly with Brad Scott and his team at Routledge), Thomas Nelson and the Arden Shakespeare team are convinced of its benefits for teachers, researchers, students and scholars of Shakespeare worldwide. The Arden Shakespeare CD-ROM has been acclaimed by some of the most influential and electronically-focused members of the Shakespearean scholarly community as a pioneering and startlingly useful deployment of electronic media in the discipline. It was produced after several years of hard thought and often thankless and highly detailed work, which was initiated not through cynicism but by a desire to engage with the exciting possibilities of new media for the academic publishing world. The development cost of the entire project was substantial and would certainly have made any commercial cynic blanch.
The review is inaccurate in some places. It is in fact possible to print off sections of Arden text; the price of £2,500 includes a ten concurrent user licence for a network; highlighting of sources can be turned off, and the sources accessed in ways which avoid any correlation of source passages to scenes.
However, the main charge of the article is that the CD-ROM contains Arden second series rather than third series texts. This was an issue that was debated carefully during the development process, and the decision not to include Arden 3 texts was made on a number of grounds:
We trust that the readers of Computers and Texts will take up the (entirely free) opportunity of receiving a demonstration CD-ROM from the Arden Shakespeare to judge Texts and Sources for Shakespeare Studies for themselves. This disc has all the functionality of the full version, but only three plays. A number of academic institutions worldwide have already used it as the basis of making a decision to purchase what we feel is the best electronic resource for Shakespeare studies available on the market today.
[Table of Contents] [Letter to the Editor]
Computers & Texts 15 (1997), p.19 Not to be republished in any form
without the author's permission.
HTML Author: Sarah Porter
Document Created: 9 September 1997
The URL of this document is http://info.ox.ac.uk/ctitext/publish/comtxt/ct15/nelson.html