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Much ado about Bard's texts online

High-resolution images of 21 original Shakespeare texts, in 93 different versions, are now available on the British Library Web site.

William Shakespeare, the Warwickshire wordsmith, was paid a posthumous compliment this week, when the British Library made available 21 of his works on the Internet.

High-resolution images of 21 original texts, in 93 different versions, are available on the British Library Web site.

Leafing through virtual page after virtual page, people will be able to read the plays in the same format that Shakespeare himself and the actors who performed his plays for the Globe audiences did.

Unlike many commonly read texts, the quarto editions digitized by the British Library were compiled during Shakespeare's life. They are as close to the real deal as many fans of the Bard will ever have seen.

The site will primarily appeal to academics; they will be able to compare and contrast different versions of the texts that are thought to be Shakespeare's drafts and rough copies of plays such as Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and Othello.

Will Sturgeon of Silicon.com reported from London.