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Bridging Taiwan and the World with Shakespeare:
NTU and MIT Sign Collaboration on Digital Archives

Taiwan Shakespeare Database
Taiwan Shakespeare Database

On December 20th, Peter S. Donaldson, Professor of Literature at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) visited NTU to sign a memorandum of collaboration between MIT’s Global Shakespeares Video and Performance Archive (http://globalshakespeares.org) and NTU’s Taiwan Shakespeare Database (http://www.Shakespeare.tw). MIT is widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities in digital technology and in the intersection of computing and the humanities. The Taiwan Shakespeare Database takes pride in being the first formal collaborator with MIT’s well-established repository. The mission of the Taiwan Shakespeare Database is to bring Taiwan’s Shakespearean theatre to the world stage and to supplement the existing record of world Shakespeares. Its launch and link to MIT’s Global Shakespeares will markedly enhance the visibility and influence of Taiwan’s theatre and scholarship.

Shakespeare is far and away the most performed playwright in Taiwan, where he appears in the most varied colors. Regrettably, many of these productions remain undocumented and little known outside local circles. Created by Professor Bi-qi Beatrice Lei of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, with the technical support from the Research Center for Digital Humanities led by Director Hsiang Jieh and sponsorship from the National Science Council and NTU’s Aim for Top University Project, the Taiwan Shakespeare Database is an open-access online archive of Taiwan’s Shakespearean productions, with both English and Chinese interfaces. It casts theatre works in historical and cultural context, aiming to be both comprehensive and in-depth, and presenting not only streaming video of performances but also production background, interviews, publicity materials, designs, photos, news coverage, reviews, essays, and more. The materials brought to light weave a vivid cultural history of Taiwan. Records are annotated in English and Chinese, and the performance videos also offer bilingual subtitles. The Database constitutes a useful tool for researchers, teachers, and students alike, who can browse all the productions or search for specific data. The Database is an ongoing project, and application tools for teaching and research are also being developed.

A pioneer in electronic projects involving Shakespeare across media, Professor Donaldson, Director of Global Shakespeares, has built the Shakespeare Electronic Archive (http://shea.mit.edu), Hamlet on the Ramparts (http://shea.mit.edu/ramparts) and XMAS: Cross-Media Annotation System (http://web.mit.edu/shakspere/xmas), which supports the use of DVDs, images, and texts in student on-line discussions, in class presentations and multimedia essays. Currently hosting over 400 theatre and cinematic productions from around the world, Global Shakespeares is the most comprehensive and used database of its kind. The collaboration between Global Shakespeares and the Taiwan Shakespeare Database exemplifies how the global and the local can supplement each other to achieve both breadth and depth.

Chinese version