Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shakespeare as History Lesson

So lately I've been playing with a database of over 5000 "Shakespeare" questions.  Not saying where I got it (I made it) or what I'm planning to do with it (you'll see soon enough, Fates willing), but I am finding a whole slew of interesting meta questions to put  up for discussion.  I saw "Shakespeare" in quotes like that because, just like any major data repository, there are false positives to weed out.  I think I'm finally done with questions about "Juliet" from LOST :-/.

Today's topic is about history.  Topics like Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and Cleopatra show up frequently.  What's neat is that you can't always tell whether somebody's asking about the play ("Does Brutus die in Julius Caesar?") or history in general ("What did Cleopatra do for Egypt?")  But unlike the Juliet/LOST example, in this case the answers overlap. "When did Julius Caesar die?" has both a history answer and a Shakespeare answer. What I think would be cool is if we Shakespeare geeks just banded together to storm Google a bit and take those questions as our own.  Why not have the questioner land on a Shakespeare answer?  Even if that's not what he was looking for, maybe he'll learn a bit about Shakespeare in the process.  What could it hurt?  It's not like we're giving anybody the *wrong* answers.  We can plainly tell them "In the play, Cleopatra does this..." and, if you know it to be different from the "real" answer, throw in the real answer as well.

So, fellow Shakespeare bloggers, there's your call to action.  Looking for content?  Blast out some Julius Caesar / Antony+Cleopatra posts.  Who were they, what did they do, where did they live, when were they born and what did they do?  Assume that the searcher is a student looking for the historic answer, and give them the Shakespeare answer now that you've got them.  Bet you'll see some traffic.  Hint, hint.  Big ol' hint.

1 comment:

lorax said...

I found your post about Chasing the Bard on Google over a year ago and bookmarked it. Today I was organizing my bookmarks and re-found your blog.

Adding to blog roll now.