While we are waiting…

The MESA team is hard at work indexing the first sets of metadata into the system! The first set includes manuscripts from e-Codices, Parker on the Web, and the Walters Art Museum, plus publications from the medieval collections from InteLex (including the works of Peter Abelard, Saint Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and others). By the time we launch in early 2013, we’ll have additional collections in as well. We have also been working, with the support and advice of our Steering Committee, on refinements to the search facility that should serve to make it more “medievalist friendly” than the search interface currently used in NINES and 18thConnect (our partner nodes in the Advanced Research Consortium).

While we are waiting for that, we would like to share a presentation by MESA co-director Dot Porter, “Medievalists’ Use of Digital Resources and the Development of MESA“. Dot first presented this as a keynote at the European Summer School in Digital Humanities in Leipzig, Germany, July 2012, and this is a recording of the same presentation, presented in the Digital Library Brown Bag series at Indiana University Bloomington.


The Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance (MESA) is a federated international community of scholars, project, institutions, and organizations engaged in digital scholarship within the field of medieval studies. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MESA seeks both to provide a community for those engaged in digital medieval studies and to meet emerging needs of this community, including making recommendations on technological and scholarly standards for electronic scholarship, the aggregation of data, and the ability to discover and repurpose this data.

This presentation will focus on the discovery aspect of MESA, and how it might serve the non-digital medievalist who may nevertheless be interested in finding and using digital resources. Starting with a history of medievalists and their interactions with digital technology as told through three data sets (the International Congress on Medieval Studies (first held in 1962), (a digital project database in the UK, sponsored by JISC and the Arts & Humanities Research Council), and two surveys, from 2002 and 2011, that looked specifically at medievalists’ use of digital resources), I will draw out some potential issues that this history has for the current developers of digital resources for medievalists, and investigate how MESA might serve to address these issues.

The full recording (audio + screen) is here:

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