Founded on 9 July 2014, Folgerpedia is the Folger Shakespeare Library's collaboratively-edited, search-based encyclopedia of all things "Folger." Content of the articles has been contributed by various departments within the institution, as well as Folger readers and other scholars. The articles address each topic as it relates to the Folger and the Folger collection. There is a variety of article types that can be found on Folgerpedia, including: lists; how tos; and encyclopedic entries concerning items in the collection, Shakespeare's works and characters, and his works in performance.

To read more about Folgerpedia, check out the Folger research blog, The Collation.

Folgerpedia runs on the MediaWiki platform (the same software as Wikipedia). See the Manual of Style for information about how to name and structure articles. Please read through the contributor policy before editing. For more information or to receive editing permissions, please email

A brief history


The idea for the creation of the Folger wiki suite began with Eric Johnson and Erin Blake pinpointing the need for the Folger to edit Wikipedia entries about the institution and its collection; cf. Emily Jordan Folger.

Eric Johnson, Erin Blake, and Owen Williams decided it would be better for us to organize our Wikipedia-like information, generated by Folger staff and readers and about the scholarly center of our institution—Shakespeare—in this format instead of contending with Wikipedia itself. Folgerpedia fills the need for housing information that does not belong, is too detailed, or is outdated from our other outlets. The wiki also allows for collaboration with scholars at, within, and away from the Folger.

A large part of the inspiration for Folgerpedia came from The Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum User's Guide published in 1987, and made cheaply available to researchers through the British Museum gift shop. Its 189 pages contain unflinching descriptions of the sorts of in-house resources that every institution has, but few talk about (e.g. from the "Costume" section of the guide to prints, "There is a series of unmounted prints, mostly of costume, known under the title 'Authorities for Artists' after the function originally intended when it was put together. It occupies 14 large boxes, and is arranged as follows....").[1] Folgerpedia, likewise, records useful pieces of information gleaned from institutional history and the memories of long-time staff members.


We engaged WikiWorks MediaWiki consulting firm. The project was spearheaded by Yaron Koren who engaged our designer Andru Vallance. During the early stages of project development, we decided to create three discrete wiki spaces with overlapping user privileges and the same server.

  1. Folgerpedia: A Wikipedia-style encyclopedia which operates as the Folger's public outreach/research tool.
  2. Insites: Our "wiki farm" which hosts individual, one-off, collaborative projects within the Folger and with outside scholars and researchers. Our successsful proof of concept space in this wiki has been Early Modern Digital Agendas, a Folger Institute program. In August 2014, a Sandbox wiki was added for staff and other users to practice their wiki markup skills.
  3. Bard2: The Folger's upgraded, easy to use internal wiki.

Successful in beginning stages due to collaboration between Central Library, Digital Media and Publications, and Folger Institute. The budget was split three ways. There was enough involvement by different areas of the institution to make decisions that were unbiased while still keeping the working group small enough that we could implement the wiki structure within seven months.


We worked closely with Andru Vallance to come up with a design for all three wikis—particularly Folgerpedia—which worked with Folger branding guidelines, was aesthetically pleasing, and also mirrored other wiki structures for articles. In order to allow for editors at all levels of skill to participate, we included both source code and WYSIWIG (What you see is what you get) editing modes. For more about editing Folgerpedia, please read our Getting started article.


Folgerpedia was designed by Andru Vallance, contracted by Yaron Koren of WikiWorks in collaboration with representatives from the Folger's Online Strategy Council. The fonts are PT Serif Bold and LFT Etica Semibold with active links color #1D4B67 and broken links color #CE332F. The header is #12111C and the footer is #435E6E.


Much of the early content was migrated from the Folger's public site and Bard Classic by Rachel Stevenson, Erin Blake, Deborah J. Leslie, Sophie Byvik, Claire Dapkiewicz, and Kate Covintree. The soft launch was July 9, 2014. For more about the launch of Folgerpedia, read the July 29, 2014 post on The Collation.

In the future, the Folger hopes to make this resource much more robust through the use of various yet limited crowd-sourcing efforts, including Edit-a-thons.

Current and Past Personnel

Notes and references

  1. Antony Griffiths and Reginald Williams, The Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum User's Guide (London: Published for the Trustees of the British Museum by British Museum Publications, 1987), p. 52.