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4. Digitising the First Folio

Preliminary page 17
Use this resource to explore the University of Leeds Brotherton Collection digital First Folio, to find out more about the significance of the book, and the history of this particular copy.
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Macbeth. I. i. 1 - I. ii. 62
The significance of the plays in Shakespeare's first folio. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Preliminary page 3
The significance of Shakespeare as a literary figure. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Preliminary page 15
The context of the first folio of Shakespeare's plays - the principal actors. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Portrait of Shakespeare (first folio)
The context of the first folio of Shakespeare's plays - Shakespeare's portrait. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Preliminary page 7
The context of the first folio of Shakespeare's plays - the readers. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Preliminary page 2
The condition of the Library's copy of Shakespeare's first folio. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Outside front cover
The condition of the binding of the Library's copy of Shakespeare's first folio. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Brotherton First Folio Box
The condition of the containing box of the Library's copy of Shakespeare's first folio. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Photograph of Lord Brotherton, 1926
Read about Lord Brotherton of Wakefield, who purchased Shakespeare's First Folio and donated it to the University of Leeds. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Theodore Newton Vail, 1845-1920, bust portrait, facing left]
Read about Theodore Vail, a previous owner of Shakespeare's First Folio now owned by the University of Leeds. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Read about the digitisation of Shakespeare's first folio undertaken by the University of Leeds Library. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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Preliminary page 17
View a high-resolution digitised version of Shakespeare's First Folio. Part of an online resource for exploring the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, held in the Brotherton Collection in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.
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The University Library's Digitisation team have photographed a wide variety of objects from glass slides to First World War helmets, but the First Folio has been one of the more nerve-wracking jobs...

The Folio is normally kept in temperature and humidity controlled conditions, but was taken to our specially equipped studio for digitisation.

The book was photographed using a digital medium format camera connected to a computer.

Before a single shot was taken, book supports were carefully arranged to make sure that pages were at an angle so that they could be photographed without distortion or shadows, as lighting, colour balance and angles need to be standardised from one page to another.

It took two people working together to photograph the First Folio: one person arranging the book support, adjusting the focus and turning the pages; the other taking the photographs via the computer, then carefully checking the resulting images and metadata.

The book was captured by photographing all the pages on the right hand (recto) side first, then rotating it 180 degrees and photographing all the left-hand (verso) pages.

Once photography had finished, processing began: cropping and interleaving the left and right pages so they reflected the order of the original.

The aim was to capture the book as closely to the original as possible during the photography stage, so there was little need for further processing or enhancement.

The images were then ready to be uploaded to the website and form part of this resource.