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QuickWire: ‘Frankenstein,’ Online and Kicking

Digital facsimiles and transcriptions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein notebooks went live on Halloween, marking the debut of the long-planned Shelley-Godwin Archive. The Chronicle wondered what kind of web traffic Shelley’s monster had attracted since then, so we asked Neil Fraistat for an update. Mr. Fraistat is a professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park, where he directs the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, or MITH; he and Elizabeth C. Denlinger, a curator at the New York Public Library, have been leading the Shelley-Godwin project.

In the first 24 hours after the site went live, it drew “almost 60,000 unique visitors,” Mr. Fraistat said via email. As of Thursday, there had been more than 70,000 unique visitors—76,000 counting repeat visits. More than 500 unique visits had come from Russia.

“I’ve been surprised by a significant number of visits and tweets from Spanish-speaking countries—didn’t know that Frankenstein was so popular in Latin America,” he added. “We also have had around 2,000 tweets in several languages (including Russian, Chinese, and Japanese), and we got an amazing amount of attention on Reddit.”

Had the tech team, based at MITH, encountered any technical surprises? “The only surprise was that everything has gone off without a hitch,” Mr. Fraistat responded. “So far no glitches or snafus, and lots of appreciative feedback, much of it on Twitter.”

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