Frequently Asked Questions

What is MESA?

The Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance (MESA) is a federation of electronic medieval studies projects that provides a portal allowing the simultaneous searching of all member projects and provides recommendations for technological and scholarly standards for electronic scholarship in the field of medieval studies. It is a sister federation of the Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship (NINES) and 18thConnect, and will be linked to both of these federations, allowing users to search any of the federations separately or in any combination.

How can I participate in MESA?

Any medievalist can participate in MESA. If you have developed a digital collection, resource, or scholarly edition or other type of project, it can be considered for inclusion in MESA. The submission process is being developed in the Summer and Autumn of 2012, and we intend to begin putting resources through that process in early 2013. Please contact us if you are interested in having your resource included in the MESA federation. If you are a scholar or student of the Middle Ages, once the MESA website is launched in late 2012 you can use it to search for resources, as well as to develop exhibits using the exhibits-building area of the site.

How does MESA work?

MESA runs on Collex, an open-source collections- and exhibits-builder that is also the basis of NINES and 18thConnect. It uses Resource Description Framework (RDF) files that make data from member sites discoverable and cross-searchable. A good overview of how Collex works can be found on the NINES site at You can also try using NINES ( or 18thConnect ( to get a feeling for how Collex works and everything that it can do.

Will I need to change how my site works to join MESA?

No. In the future we might make recommendations for changes to sites as a stipulation of membership, but for the launch group we have identified projects that will not need to be altered to become part of the community. MESA requires RDF metadata that describes the data of your project. These RDF files will be stored on our server and your project will remain the same as it was before the RDF files were generated. To learn more about RDF, consult the World Wide Web Consortium. To learn more about generating RDF for MESA, see the Submissions page.

Will MESA keep a copy of my data on its server?

No. We will only keep the RDF files that refer to your data and point outwards to it. When a user of Collex discovers a resource of interest from your project, s/he will be linked out to your project.

If you have additional questions, please include them in comments below and we will answer them in comments and may add them to the FAQ. Thank you for your interest in MESA!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *