Chief Differences between Hamlet Art Database & Versions Available in MIT Shakespeare Electronic Archive and MIT Ramparts Project
The following list of the chief differences between the Hamlet Art Database and the version of it available in the MIT Shakespeare Electronic Archive demonstrates the financial, technical, and legal restrictions that frequently shape the manner in which electronic research and teaching tools are created. With additional funding, with advances in data storage capacity and in the speed of data transferral via the internet, and with the resolution of legal restrictions concerning the copyright of images, the art materials within the MIT Archive (along with all the other planned materials, such as movies) could be expanded and made easily available not only at special sites in research libraries but via the internet and various distributable media such as CDs.
They would thus be accessible to students and researchers using whatever desktop or laptop computer is the future available norm, an affordable machine capable of manipulating and displaying the huge amount of available data. The financial and technical challenges in achieving MIT’s goals are, I suspect, small in comparison to the legal issues. Alliances with libraries, museums, publishers, and theatre companies to provide low-cost access to highly valued copyright visual material will require skilled negotiation and vision. To date the fruits of such negotiation and vision are nowhere more evident than in the MIT Ramparts Project.
The development of the MIT Archive is inevitably shaped by financial, technical, and legal issues. How it progresses is, of course, of considerable personal interest to me. The Hamlet Art Database that I created initially for my own research purposes may well remain a private tool, except for the version(s) that MIT may be able to make public. There are commercial Web Hosting Sites that will host FileMaker Pro databases. This would largely solve the technical issue, but obviously there is a charge for such a service, so there remains a financial issue. The chief impediment, however, is the obvious legal issue. The information in the database and a full range of search tools could be made publically available, but the relevant digitized images would almost certainly be an impossibility.
|MIT Version(s) of Hamlet Art Database as seen by users||Hamlet Art Database|
|images accessed through links to lines in text or by specific categories (e.g. Ramparts Project has separate categories of Actors and Costumes and Sets)||images accessed through searches in any database field (e.g. by lines in text, either Riverside Edition or Through-Line Number, by name of artist, actor, director, by medium or date of art work, by location of original art work, by any word or phrase in picture description, etc.)|
|at present contains information and relevant images mainly relating to Folger Shakespeare Library collection, together with some items from other collections||contains information records for all known Hamlet art works between 1709 and 1900. Available digitized images are, however, primarily confined to those from Folger Shakespeare Library collection.|
|on browser screen, information records supplied for each art work may be abbreviated for descriptions and bibliographical references. However, user may access full-length descriptions and bibliographical references by first click green-coloured “(more)” link as seen in Archive screenshot.|