The Heroic Age
In this edition of The Independent Scholar, I will be focusing on the electronic resources available to medieval scholars, and providing information on some that you may not know about. For those of us who are not currently employed by, or have moved in directions away from, the traditional academic faculty position, yet are interested in continued research and publication in our academic discipline, it is essential that we maintain currency of information and participate in electronic discussions on issues and research in our areas of specialization. There are a number of different ways to do this. I have divided them into: websites, and electronic discussion groups (listservs).
1. The Labyrinth
This site contains a wealth of information and resources in medieval studies. It is organized into sections called The Labyrinth Library (Auctores et fonts, Scripta moderna); Subjects (National Cultures, International Culture); Special Topics (Arthurian Studies, Medieval Women, etc.); Pedagogical Resources; Professional Information, Publications, and Organizations; Labyrinth Electronic Center; and Medieval Studies Text, Image, and Archival Databases.
2. Online Resource Book
for Medieval Studies (ORB)
This is another top-notch medieval site, organized into The ORB Encyclopedia; The ORB Textbook Library; The ORB Reference Shelf; Resources for Teaching; Of General Interest; External Links; and E-Texts.
3. Internet Medieval
This resource is organized into three main index pages, with a number of supplementary documents. These areas are: Selected Sources (selected and excerpted texts for teaching purposes); Full-Text Sources; and Saints' Lives. The supplementary documents include: Sourcebook Accessions; Selected Secondary Sources; Medieval Source Projects; Medieval Legal History; Livre des Source Medievales (French sources); Libro de Fuentes Medievales de Internet (Spanish sources); a Multimedia section dealing with maps and images, medieval films, and medieval music; Internet History Sourcebooks Project; as well as links to many other Internet sourcebooks. There is also a sidebar on the left side of the website that provides access to selected topics in medieval studies.
Called the Internet Connection for Medieval Resources, this site is organized into subject areas. These include: Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Arthuriana, Civilizations, Culture, Drama, History, Law, Literature, Music, People, Philosophy, Religion, Science and Technology, Women, and Research Center. There are numerous subdivisions under each topic, and the Research Center contains a wealth of information for researchers and scholars of medieval studies.
5. The Medieval Library
This site is a part of the History homepage of the University of Central Arkansas. It is divided into two large sections: Bibliographies, and Medieval Internet Sites. There are numerous resources under each section, including links to the majority of medieval sites listed here.
6. WWW Virtual Library
History Index (Medieval Europe)
This site is a part of a much larger one, the WWW Virtual Library. It is organized into the areas of Reference, Chronological, Geographical, Topical, and Other. There are numerous links and subheadings under each of these divisions.
7. What Every Medievalist Should Know (WEMSK)
This is an excellent list of primary and secondary sources by topic for medievalists. The lists began as postings by Dr. James Marchand on the MEDTEXTL listserv, but became so popular that they are now posted on a website, and are collaboratively produced by members of the listserv. New editions of WEMSK are posted often on the MEDTEXTL list.
The best available list
of medieval academic discussion groups is at http://www.towson.edu/~duncan/acalists.html
. Some of these have a very low volume of discussion; others
have a couple messages a day; while a few are pretty active. There
is a short description of each list and what its focus is.
One useful group of discussion lists that all medievalists should check out is the H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences OnLine discussion groups at http://www.h-net.msu.edu . Look under Discussion Networks, and you will find a list of all the discussion groups that H-Net supports. The one that I have found particularly helpful as an independent scholar has been H-Scholar, which is geared towards independent scholars and scholarship in all disciplines. Some interesting discussions thus far have dealt with access to library privileges, trying to balance a career and research, and jobs in other fields besides academia. I highly recommend that any independent scholar join this list; it is the best one out there thus far for those of us not associated with any college or university.
There are many other avenues for independent scholars of medieval history, especially conferences such as Kalamazoo and Leeds that are international in scope and provide excellent opportunities for collegial contact and research updates. Of course, without institutional support for attendance, it is often difficult for independent scholars to justify the cost of attendance at conferences. There are also some state and local medieval societies that are active, and presenting papers or attending these get-togethers are less expensive and can be as rewarding as attending one of the international medieval conferences. When I lived in Texas, I often attended and presented at the Texas Medieval Association meetings, which were well-organized and well-attended.
As for opportunities to publish and/or become published, these are more numerous than you think. I have been able to publish a number of encyclopedic articles in the last two years, all of which were offered over the Internet via listserv postings and CFPs (Call for Papers). These included the Encyclopedia of Monasticism, the Encyclopedia of Medieval Italy, and the Encyclopedia of Medieval Folklore, all of which posted CFPs on the major medieval listservs when they were looking for authors for articles. There are also a number of electronic journals in the medieval area that have sprung up in the last few years, one of which is The Heroic Age, specifically geared towards both academic and independent scholars in medieval disciplines.
My list of medieval Internet sites and other resources is by no means meant to be complete; they are starting points. I hope that this column is of help to all independent scholars of medieval history. If you have any questions or suggestions for future editions of this column, please contact me at the email address provided in the title information.
Editor's Note: Check out our links page for many additional fine sites.