For the past seven months, a small team of dedicated colleagues here at the Folger have been working very hard to bring you a new online, interactive tool that we hope will inspire collaboration and serve the Folger community. With this blog post, I invite you to explore, cultivate, and contribute to the newest resource at the Folger: our wiki, Folgerpedia!
Folgerpedia is an infinitely updateable, constantly growing encyclopedia of all things Folger and of interest to the Folger community. The wiki platform (MediaWiki, the same platform as Wikipedia) allows for collaborative generation of information surrounding our collection, Library, institution, programming, education initiatives, and the literature, culture, and history of early modern England and Shakespeare. To explore its wealth, all you need to do is navigate to http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/ or put “Folgerpedia” in your favorite search engine. You can browse the site by simply enter a keyword in the search bar or by following links to highlighted or recently edited articles.
Folgerpedia presents a source for information generated by you: readers, researchers, scholars, and Folger friends who wish to share your knowledge, your research process and its results, data you have generated using our collections, and more. We encourage you to share information on your favorite topics and to collaborate with others who share your interests while also learning from users who generate content on Folgerpedia. There is so much you can do with Folgerpedia:
- Peruse past programming—like our Folger Institute scholarly programs archive (1997–present) or our Folger Theatre performance history (1991–present)—to learn about the many facets of the Folger and mine the archive for ideas and information. Maybe you’d like to browse the syllabus for Theresa Coletti’s 2011 Institute seminar on “Periodization and its Discontents: Medieval and Early Modern Pathways in Literature” or refresh your memory of Aaron Posner’s 2006 Folger Theatre production of Measure for Measure.
- Help others jumpstart their research by contributing personal finding aids or lists of collection materials that would be of interest to the rest of the community. Curious about 18th-century illustrations of Shakespeare? This list of all the Samuel Hieronymous Grimm watercolors bound in an extra-illustrated edition of Shakespeare might be useful.
- Browse, use, and contribute annotated bibliographies of early modern resources. If you’re interested in early modern women writers, Georgianna Ziegler’s bibliography on the topic gives you a great place to start your research. (You’ll probably also want to learn more about her 2012 exhibition, “Shakespeare’s Sisters: Voices of English and European Women Writers, 1500-1700.”)
Folgerpedia also serves as a supplement to our online catalog, Hamnet, and our Finding Aids database in order to provide information pertinent to collection items that does not necessarily belong in either of these resources. With each new article, we make a concerted effort to pull together all relevant information from the Folger’s many existing resources into one place. Many articles highlight specific items from the collection according to work done by scholars and will also serve to feature new acquisitions and items of particular interest to the larger Folger community. For instance, this article describes Lady Anne Kerr’s manuscript receipt book, including detailing the provenance of this ca. 1760 book and itemizing all the household recipes it contains. By allowing wiki visitors to utilize content generated by researchers and staff members, Folgerpedia scaffolds new research so that future readers will not need to duplicate their efforts.
Along with providing strong scholarly content, Folgerpedia acts as a repository for the Folger’s past performances and special events, exhibitions, seminars, colloquia and conferences. We have archived past programs from Folger Theatre, Folger Consort, O.B. Hardison Poetry Series, Folger Institute, and much more in Folgerpedia.
The articles on these topics in Folgerpedia grant access to information has long needed a useful home. Now, researchers of all types—from casual visitors, undergraduates, Institute attendees, docents, staff members, and advanced scholars—can approach and work with the Folger in an entirely new way.
But Folgerpedia can only reach its full potential with your help. We want you not only to use the wiki, but to contribute to it. If you are a Folger reader, program participant, or performer, or are someone who is knowledgeable about topics that are relevant to our community, you can apply to become a contributor. Learn more about our contributor policy and email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!