The Wikipedia Conundrum

You’ve probably noticed how often the links in my posts are to a Wikipedia article. It’s like when you google and the search engine puts Wikipedia’s information in a fact box, or Apple’s Siri replies with it to answer your question. They’re an easy link to include to give you more information.  I know it’s not the highest scholarly source. Some articles don’t even cite quality references for you to verify. Yet there is no other free resource like it.  There are things you should know about Wikipedia itself if you don’t already.  Wikipedia’s noble goal is to eventually cover every knowledgeable topic in the world. This impossible mission has made it a top ten most searched website in the world.  But did you know Wikipedia was not the first online encyclopedia? Seven others attempted it first. And Wikipedia began as part of one of them, Nupedia.  Also, Wikipedia’s operation is unique. It works through a volunteer gaggle and without traditional advisory boards or editors. A contributors’ pool that is prompt, authoritative and effective.  But this force is shrinking while Wikipedia’s needs have increased. Its articles have grown in length. Plus it must also defend against the worlds vandals and manipulators. To revitalize it Wikipedia’s owner developed legal and technical ways to adapt its website and software to handle this. It created new editing tools and vetting procedures. And their automatic programs now reverse incorrect format changes and warn probable vandals they’re caught. These stiffer quality control measures reduce shams and hoaxes making things better for you and me, […]

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Throwback Criteria

Calligraphy Criteria  -Novice While it’s not Thursday yet I thought you’d like to see a throwback of sorts from August of 1996.  Years ago the Kingdom of Calontir had Arts and Sciences’s Criteria that were different than those we use today. The other day I was reorganizing some papers and my copies for both calligraphy and illumination resurfaced.  I’d been […]

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Internet Round Up 5

Again my internet surfing snared websites too good to keep from you. These turn up as I sleuth out information for blog posts. I’ve been saving them to post in one place. These popped up relating to life-long e-learning. And learning  about Medieval history, its people and its things are what we do in the SCA. The Medieval History section of Thought Company. This is a life-long learning website with 20 years creating educational content. Each section has its own ‘guide’ editor highlighting interesting topics and commentary articles. There’s a helpful Section Guide with their interests and an email newsletter for you to keep learning something daily. Khan Academy is a non-profit organization offering you personalized learning videos and an individualized dashboard so you can study at your own pace. Its intriguing Introduction to the Middle Ages is a perfect starting place for Medieval private study.  Academia.edu is for more scholarly research. It a way academics share research papers with masses of people for free. The company’s mission is to accelerate the world’s research. But it also allows them to monitor analytics impacting their research, and tracking the research they follow. Academia.edu is widely read attracting over 37 million visitors a month. Related Prior Post: Internet Round-Up 1, 2, 3, and 4.

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Internet Round Up 4: Armour and Illuminated Manuscripts

Morgan M.456   Avis aus roys Folio 34v, 1340-1360 A.D., Paris, France Manuscript Miniatures is not exactly what you think it is from its name. It is a medieval armor research source with insight through illuminated manuscripts.   The website’s intent is to make it easier to hunt for online digitized images from numerous manuscripts. A way to quickly view 15,000+ miniatures from 1500+ manuscripts of 15+ countries. It’s not a manuscript holder, so once you find an image you’ll want to verify its accuracy.  But that’s easy. By clicking on the picture you’ll find its source.  You can then verify its accuracy with the manuscript’s owner. Manuscript Miniatures has a tagging method that’s innovative. The labels are created by viewers sometimes with interesting spellings or descriptions. It’s also why you might find unique images included within a tag. As a scribe, you might not find illumination’s common term for things either. Its brickwork and brick pattern tags are what you’d call “diapering”. One of its best tags is ‘elephant‘. Its 75 images show Medieval people had little idea what an elephant looked like.  But there’s more for you here than illuminated manuscripts. From this web page, you can tab to other similar item categories with separate URLs like  Armour In Art, Effigies & Brasses, and Aquamanilia. Each offers similar ways to search. Its Effigies & Brasses’ Links also connect you to related external armoring information.  While this isn’t exactly a blog round-up, it is a work-in-progress webpage collection with contributions welcomed. And I thought […]

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Cat Love

Llull’s Llibre de meravelles (BNF Fr. 189, fol. 283),   second half of the 15th-century You have my new cat Luna to thank for this blog post. I’m lounging with my tablet because she wants a nap. But this Luna-break gave me a reason to look up medieval pet cats. And so I came across a ninth-century poem about a monk’s white cat named Pangur Ban.  While the poem was written by an Irish monk it was found in a monastery near today’s Austria on Reichenau Island. In the poem, the monk compares his search for knowledge to the cat’s hunt for mice and the pleasure both get from their efforts. In the poem translated by Robin Flower the monk shows the fondness he had for his cat. He named it and called his pet a “he” not an “it.” So in peace our tasks we ply, Pangur Bán, my cat, and I; In our arts we find our bliss, I have mine and he has his. That is a person who adores his cat. “Pangur Ban” is a delightful poem relevant to us in the SCA today when you take joy in hunting for history’s knowledge. Aren’t you elated when you snare an elusive information tidbit? Don’t you want to show it off as a cat displays a trophy-mouse to its owner?  Related Prior Post:  Searching For Illumination Manuscript Humor  SCA Award Texts External Related Links: Cats as Pets in the Middle Ages Larsdatter on […]

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5+ Medieval History Blogs – Internet Round-up 2

From the 1430 Milanese   illuminated manuscript  Bréviaire de Marie de Savoie  As I work on SCA projects I come across things I think would interest you. They don’t always come with pretty pictures like this Milanese rabbit, but I thought as a group you might find them interesting. So I put five together in one post with a similar topic.  These blogs are by a variety of professional historians.  Although Karen Larsdatter is also in the SCA.  I know you’ll find them as interesting as I did. And be careful. You might lose track of time or get “hooked” by one or two. Enjoy. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ History Of The Ancient World gives you “news, articles, and videos about antiquity, from prehistoric times to the Roman Empire.” It is edited by Peter Konieczny and Sandra Alvarez who you may also know for the website Medievalists.net – a premier resource for those interested in the Middle Ages. Material Culture Blog where M. Karen Larsdatter “blogs about stuff from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, including clothing, armor, and artwork. News about museum exhibits and new books.” Don’t miss her showpiece links page where you can click on anything and be amazed.   Medieval Histories is another Larsdatter bonanza you won’t want to skip. This one is her traditional blog.  The Public Medievalist is Dr. Paul B. Sturtevant’s unique blog about how the Middle Ages are currently featured in popular culture, museums and in education. You even find posts about SCA culture.  Medieval Hungary is a blog written by Zsombor Jékely in English “about medieval art history, with […]

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How-to Educate Yourself In Scribal Skills? Learning And Teaching Them

At Lonely Tower’s scribes gathering recently Ly. Kristin asked what the basic illumination skills were that she should learn. Kristin is an accomplished preprint painter with wonderful skills, but she wants to take it a step further. How does she know what skills she should learn? Where would you look? A great starting place is this archived article “A Guide For The […]

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