First Folios Compared is an Open Access website created and hosted by AM. The site brings together digitised copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio, sourced from a wide range of institutions around the world, who kindly agreed to contribute their digital version to this project. As well as providing the digital images, each institution kindly shared any existing metadata connected to the document, which we have amalgamated to maximise the efficacy of the search and filtering functions in the site. In order that each First Folio has a unique indentifier within the site, we have used the Shakespeare Census site's numbering system. For more information on this numbering system, see the links section below.

First Folios Compared was built in 2023 in order to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the famous book’s publication and to create a unique research opportunity for all – the chance to compare over 50 First Folios together in the same place for the first time in history.


New contributors

If you are in possession of a First Folio, which has been digitised, and would like to be involved in First Folios Compared, we would love to hear from you. Contact us for more information.   

We would love to hear how you get on comparing the First Folios hosted on this site. If you discover something new or intriguing (or even revolutionary!) please do share it with us, our site advisor Professor Emma Smith, and the wider research community by using the following hashtag on Twitter: #firstfolioscompared

We are very grateful for the support and advice of Professor Emma Smith and Céline Magada, and for the content that they provided for this site. 

Thank you to all the institutions who generously supported the project by supplying digital files, metadata and contextual information on their First Folio copies.

Individual First Folio numeric identifiers used with kind permission from: Shakespeare Census. Ed. Adam G. Hooks and Zachary Lesser. Created 2018. Accessed 15 March 2023. <>

Site images used with kind permission of:

    • Townsweb Archiving
    • Simon Epp/ Universität zu Köln
    • Pete Le May /

Thank you to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for their kind cooperation with the capture of the 'Digitising a First Folio' exhibition video.

Learn more about the Shakespeare Census here: Shakespeare Census 

The signature marks visible in the First Folio, and used for navigation in the metadata of this site, are explained in more detail here: Signature Marks

You can learn even more about Shakespeare's First Folio and its landmark anniversary at

Useful publications

The Shakespeare First Folios: A Descriptive Catalogue, ed. Eric Rasmussen, Anthony James West, Donald L. Bailey, Mark Farnsworth, Lara Hansen, Trey Jansen, Sarah Stewart, (Palgrave Macmillan London, 2012)

The Making of Shakespeare's First Folio, Emma Smith (Bodleian Library, 2023)

More First Folios online

Access First Folios hosted on other websites using the following links, some of which aren't currently part of this project:

Bodleian Libraries

King's College, Cambridge

Meisei University

Philly First Folios

This site is hosted on AM Quartex. An easy to use and quick to implement digital collections platform, AM Quartex enables libraries and archives to powerfully showcase, share and celebrate their archival materials.