Online Resources

The Folger Shakespeare Library offers a broad array of online resources to aid students and scholars with their research on Shakespeare and the early modern period. A list of these online resources and a brief description of their functionality is below.

Shakespeare Documented | MirandaHamnet | Digital Image Collection | Folgerpedia | The Collation | Union First Line Index | Finding Aid Database | Private Libraries in Renaissance England (PLRE.Folger) | Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) | Shakespeare's World

Shakespeare Documented

Shakespeare Documented is a free and publicly accessible online exhibition featuring all primary sources that document the life and career of William Shakespeare.

A multi-institutional collaboration between over 30 partner institutions, Shakespeare Documented is the largest and most authoritative collection of primary-source materials documenting the life of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), bringing together all known manuscript and print references to Shakespeare, his works, and additional references to his family, in his lifetime and shortly thereafter.

Nearly 500 references, found in roughly 400 print and manuscript documents, provide a rich portrait of Shakespeare as a professional playwright, actor, poet, business man, and family man who lived in both London and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shakespeare Documented is curated by Heather Wolfe. Learn more at


Miranda is the Folger's new digital asset platform, a tool to help you discover the Folger's digital collections. Now available in beta at, Miranda holds thousands of items, from images to audio, datasets, videos, and bibliographic information. Users can save items to a personal Shelf and share it with others, compare images in Mirador, listen to Shakespeare Unlimited podcasts, and much more. 


Hamnet is the Folger Shakespeare Library’s publicly available online catalog. Hamnet contains bibliographic records for many of the important parts of our collection, including the following materials:

  • Most materials published since 1800
  • All STC books (English imprints 1475–1640)
  • Most Wing books (English imprints 1641–1700) shelved by Wing number and
  • About 90% of Wing books shelved by accession number
  • All 18th-century English books shelved by LC call number and
  • About 90% of 18th-century English books shelved by accession number
  • All incunables (that is, books printed before 1501), courtesy books, and promptbooks
  • Accession-level records for all rare materials acquired since 1996
  • Materials in from our manuscript collections, some cataloged at the item level, some cataloged by collections; please also check our Finding Aids

Hamnet also includes bibliographic records for all copies of the Shakespeare Folios and for most single-play editions of the plays published after 1700. It does not yet include records for 18th- through 20th-century sets of Shakespeare’s plays.

Please note that our cataloging efforts have been largely focused on English materials, so there are a number of continental books that are not in Hamnet. Readers should always double-check our card catalogs when searching for material. If you are not on-site, please e-mail if you have questions about whether or not we have materials in our collection.

For more information about what is in Hamnet, visit Hamnet’s Help page.

For questions or problems using Hamnet, email

For questions about the collection, email

Digital Image Collection

The Digital Image Collection (or LUNA, as we sometimes call it) offers online access to over 100,000 images from the Folger Shakespeare Library, including books, theater memorabilia, manuscripts, and art. Users can show multiple images side-by-side, zoom in and out, view cataloging information when available, export high-resolution images up to 1536 pixels, and construct persistent URLs linking back to items or searches. Users who create accounts can also save groups of images; for more tips on using LUNA, browse the tooltips in The Collation.


Folgerpedia is the Folger Shakespeare Library's collaboratively-edited, search-based encyclopedia of all things related to the Library or of interest to the Folger community. The articles have been contributed by the staff of various departments within the institution, as well as Folger readers and other scholars. Many different types of articles can be found on Folgerpedia, including those that cover:

  • Shakespeare's works and characters
  • Shakespeare’s plays in performance
  • Past scholarly programming at the Folger Institute
  • Items in the Folger’s collection
  • Relevant early modern resources

We welcome contributions to Folgerpedia from all interested parties. Learn more about our contributor policy and email to get started!

The Collation 

The Collation is a blog featuring scholarship from the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Collation posts twice a week and features items from the collections, research being done by staff and readers, tips on using our online resources, and glimpses into the Folger’s scholarly programming.

Questions about the blog can be emailed to

Union First Line Index

The Union First Line Index enables cross-institutional literary research by providing a database of the first lines of manuscript verse held by contributing institutions. Researchers can enter keywords as search terms and limit by facets such as Shelfmark or Women only, and limit searches to specific institutions.

Questions and/or comments about the Union First Line Index? Email

Finding Aid Database

The Folger Shakespeare Library Finding Aid Database provides finding aids for the Folger's manuscript and archival collections. These finding aids give detailed descriptions about the creation, historical context, arrangement, and content of collections of papers, as well as the information necessary for readers to identify and request the specific documents relevant to their research. These online finding aids are accessible in two ways: you may browse through the list of finding aids to locate by name a particular collection of papers (for example, the Bacon-Townshend Collection of papers), or you may use the search function to find all mentions of your search term across all of the finding aids (for example, if you searched for "Padua," you would be shown all of the places across all of the finding aids where Padua is mentioned).

Private Libraries in Renaissance England (PLRE.Folger)

PLRE.Folger, the database version of Private Libraries in Renaissance England (PLRE), transcribes and annotates the book lists produced between the beginning of the sixteenth century and the mid-seventeenth century. It also reconstructs private library holdings of that period based on extant books. PLRE.Folger consists of:

  • All the annotated book-lists that appear in the published volumes of the PLRE
  • Appended book-lists, which do not appear in the printed volumes.

Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO)

Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) is a multi-faceted project funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that will offer online access to a substantial number of English manuscripts from the 16th and 17th centuries.

EMMO will make a variety of rare manuscripts from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s collection available to users for free via an easy, searchable web site with high-quality images and consistent transcriptions of letters, diaries, wills, coats of arms, literary pieces, recipe books, miscellanies, and more.

You can stay abreast of how the project is proceeding by visiting the EMMO article in Folgerpedia and by reading EMMO posts in The Collation.

Shakespeare's World

Shakespeare’s World is a collaboration between the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., at Oxford University, and the Oxford English Dictionary of Oxford University Press. This project invites volunteers to transcribe manuscripts created by thousands of men and women who lived during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the time of Shakespeare.

Much of the handwriting from this time period was done in a style known as secretary hand, which is difficult for most 21st century people to read and can make studying these manuscripts a slow and cumbersome process for scholars. And, unlike with printed documents, no large searchable database of manuscripts exists, limiting the extent of research.
This is where Shakespeare’s World comes in. Using a new online platform where images of the manuscripts have been uploaded, anyone around the world can assist in transcribing these documents. 
The process is simple: Register for an account, view a manuscript, and begin transcribing. All contributions are welcome and transcribers can go at their own pace. Online learning aids for early modern paleography are available on the site.
Once the manuscript images in Shakespeare's World are fully transcribed and vetted, the transcriptions will be added to the online database for Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO)