It didn’t take teachers too long to realize that they could access all of Shakespeare’s plays in places other than books.
In the early days of computing, that meant loading a play from a floppy disk:
although it took lots of them to upload the Complete Works.
Later they were available on smaller disks:
but that was equally tedious. Then came the World Wide Web, and soon enterprising techies were posting a variety of versions of the plays–mostly for free. And now lots of Shakespeare sites are available. Here are a few:
MIT Shakespeare was one of the earliest resources and many teachers still use them. I’ve discovered lots of errors on this site, so now I avoid using it. My guess is that many users are impressed by the MIT name, but that’s not a good reason to use it.
Bartleby uses the 1914 Oxford Shakespeare edition which is in the public domain as its source. Its advantage is that it has line numbers.
Shakespeare Online has lots of extra features and lots of annoying ads.
Open Source Shakespeare is based on the Globe edition and in addition to the plays, includes a concordance, keyword and advanced searching, and statistics.
The Works are available in HTML editions from Wikisource, without version attribution.
PlayShakespeare.com calls itself “the ultimate free Shakespeare resource,” and is primarily a presentation of the texts with some ancillary materials.
The Complete Works from the etext library at the University of Adelaide.
The Project Gutenberg texts of the Complete Works are also available.
And my personal favorite–though it doesn’t allow you to access the complete plays–is Shakespeare Searched. It’s the perfect tool for teachers.
Now tell us which source you use most.