Sunday, February 01, 2009

Healthy Fields? And What About the Rest of You?

Since my last post on what I'm reading, back in Sept, I've been a bit whelmed with editing, course prep, in-laws, outlaws, and the like. And my wife bought me cooking magazines and professional journals which have kept me busy and away from ancient/medieval books and such. But in the midst and process of all that, I did find the time to read through back issues of the Old English Newsletter. I'd missed reading a number of issues, 39.4 to 41.1, so six issues total.

From the perspective of the OEN, Old English and Anglo-Saxon studies is a healthy field. There's some really impressive and great work going on. One would wish to see more Names studies, but they were never great in number anyway. But the other linguistic fields receive great attention, wearying even to me who has some theoretical linguistics training! But all fields of endeavor seem to be thriving, and not just in the USA and Britain and Canada. There's a proper showing of articles/books/conference papers in Australia, South Africa, Spain, Russia, Eastern Europe, Korea, Japan, and even South America. At times energizing because some article or book or paper piqued my interest, or just seeing all that great work in the field makes me want to get more of my work out there. At other times, ennui set in: with so much good work going on, surely there's no one interested in a 55 page article on a half-line in Beowulf. Mostly though, energizing, exciting me to want to do more and look into more things. But the point is, there a lot of mind blowing good stuff being done in Anglo-Saxon studies.

This is of course of interest to me since in the last Heroic Age we published a discussion of the current state of things in Anglo-Saxon studies. And internally there are great signs of health. And from a medievalism point of view, there are great signs of health. From other perspectives, not so much. But I've talked about this before in this and other venues and what we can do about it.

It has made me wonder though. What about other fields?

1) Is there in say Carolingian studies or Old Norse studies tools like OEN? I don't mean just journals, etc, but a bibliography in the field that is regularly updated?

2) If not, would there be interest?

6 comments:

Matthew Gabriele said...

1) No.
2) YES, YES, YES!

:-)

tenthmedieval said...

There was briefly a Carolingians bibliography website (Wayback Machine link) at West Michigan next to Simon Keynes's one for Anglo-Saxon England, but unlike that one (a) it was only ever intended for teaching purposes and included no non-English material, (b) it was never updated whereas Simon's one did get a few revamps and (c) it also disappeared in W.Mich's site rebuild a few years ago... Of course the International Medieval Bibliography covers some of the ground (but not books! Why not? Argh!) but is pay-only, and though Regesta Imperii steal lots of it for the general public good, they don't present it, and can't, as a list of new work in the way of the OEN. If I was doing something like this, however, I think I'd start by talking to them as they seem to have a lot of the data already.

theswain said...

Well, that's a gratifying response!

Jonathan,

Re: the Carolingian bibliography...while Wayback is helpful, I find having such a tool on a real website better. So I grabbed the bull and we at The Heroic Age are now in process of loading all the materials such as this bibliography that were once at the Rawlinson Center site onto servers at MUN which houses us. Hopefully they will all live again before Congress.

Re: RI I didn't know about them to be honest. But as far as I can tell, and please do correct me, they've weeded IMB for a very specific field set, no? What I have in mind is rather larger, and would include books.

I find the advantages of both a "list", i.e. a traditional print style (even if online) AND an online, searchable database to be desireable. The database's advantages I think obvious. But I also like the "print" versions because I can read through everything in the field printed ina year that I really can't effectively pull out of the database and mark things that I might not otherwise know about to find and read.

We in A-S studies are very fortunate. Both OEN and ASE print yearly bibliographies of new work in the field, from dissertations to articles to books, and somehow Tom Hall gets stuff in Russian, Japanese, Spanish, Korean etc included. And of course we get both the list published in categories, but now have an online database too.

It seems to me to be a bit harder to find material in other early medieval fields. If there's enough interest in taking part, I've outlined a plan to fix that and hope to partner with Medieval Academy, Digital Medievalist and a few others to get the ball rolling. But the important thing is people who are willing to troll through the publications of a subfield (such as Carolingian Economy and Trade) and report everything published.

tenthmedieval said...

Larry, some need to go careful here I think. In the first place before reproducing that content I'd want permission from Thomas Noble and/or Julia Smith to do so; and secondly I'd want to confer with the Rawlinson Center to make sure that was OK. They advertise plans to restore Simon's bibliography so I think they still feel some responsibility for this stuff there.

As for Regesta Imperii, it does also contain books, though not always all of them; and that content at least cannot be coming from the IMB as that doesn't. So there is more than just weeding going on in there and it's a rare thing they haven't heard of.

On the other points, meanwhile, I agree with you or sympathise, but I'm afraid I'm not going to volunteer to help while I'm still a spare-time researcher...

theswain said...

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for expressing your thoughts. First, though, because of the nature of the agreements between those who gave their work or permission for their work to be hosted on the Rawlinson Center site, what I need, and have, is the Rawlinson Center's permission, and just as importantly, the support and permission of Paul Szarmach who got all those folk to put their work up there and ran interference for me with RRC. I plan on letting those whom I have not already been in contact with that this is going on, and if they wish me to not repost their work, I'll honor that request. But those who know have been very enthusiastic; none of them were informed that the work was being removed in the first place and are happy to have it live again. In one case, the author even sent me the raw files that I'd already worked on just in case! SO I don't need their permission, but will honor their wishes if they don't wish to have their work public once more, but I don't think that will be the case.

Second, I do have the Rawlinson Center's permission...they've provided me with all of the files that were on the site, including those I myself put up. Fear not, I checked this out before charging ahead.

Re: RI, thanks for the correction. But they are nonetheless only looking at one area of early medieval studies? Correct? Or is my German *that* bad? (always a possibility).

As for the reluctance to sign on, perfectly understandable. On the other hand, even informally you could simply pass on anything you read--just a quick email will do. Once its up and running.....no sense in doing it if there isn't an interest.

tenthmedieval said...

I should have known better: my apologies, and glad the RRC are being so helpful. As for RI, I'm not quite sure what their coverage is. It certainly began as a simple list of what was in the project library, but it's expanded well beyond that. I'm in there, for example, and I most definitely do not do itineraries of the Kaiserreich. A search for Aelfric as a title keyword brings up 301 hits, you know? They seem to index anything they come across, but I don't know how they're doing the sourcing. I don't think it's your German, anyway, I think the content has far outstripped the description. I suppose one could to an extent update the lists you've got from it simply by searching for more recent publication years and laboriously copying and pasting results, but it's a not a task I'd greet with enthusiasm... They may be able to give you XML output or something if asked, though.

I'll be very glad to see those lists back up, I have to admit. This is good work you're taking on here.