Anyone who worked in the electronics industry in the 1980's will remember the early days of reverse engineering. Computer equipment designed in high tech facilities in Silicon Valley, Glen or Fen would be painstakingly analysed and disassembled, its code rebuilt into copies somewhere in the Far East or South America. The problem for the reverse engineers was that there is a missing step in the path they seek to tread. The code written by the designers is written in compiled and stripped down to machine code and therefore cannot easily be understood. Working out which bits of code do what is a laborious process of recovering the original design. By looking at what they can see and testing what it does, reverse engineers eventullay recreate the original desig. And eventually, new counterfeit machines are the result. All manner of fake consumer electronic products then turn up in the product's home markets. Chasing the counterfeiters was hopeless. Sorting out the problem took years.
The building of the First Folio was a forward engineering process. The plays had all been performed, their parts learned by actors. Publishing them involved collecting bits written down, bits recreated from memory, some edited by the author before publication, some legitimate copies, some, like Jaggard's counterfeit versions of 1619 quite definitely not. Some were built from prompt copies with their accurate exits and entrances, some from shorthand copies, with lists of characters at the start of a scene. Things that were clearly missing could be replaced or sought in other contemporary versions. A missing speech recovered here, a stage direction added there. Painstaking work carried out over the course of many years.