Shakespeare’s World project is a collaboration between the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., at Oxford University, and the Oxford English Dictionary of Oxford University Press. Project organizers invite citizen scientists to transcribe manuscripts created by thousands of men and women in and around Shakespeare’s lifetime, 1564–1616. On the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, researchers seek to broaden their understanding of the period in which he and his contemporaries lived.

Citizen scientists can learn about the period by transcribing letters and ‘receipt’ (recipe) books in the first phase of the project. Later project organizers will add miscellanies, family papers, legal and literary documents. Along the way volunteers will find words that have yet to be recorded in—and will eventually be added to—the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary.