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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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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Free JSTOR For Your Use

I’m so excited. While I may be behind the times, I just found out I can now read free articles on JSTOR, Up to six a month. I use to only be able to afford this by driving to my local university library where I paid for an economical annual membership. But it was worth it because it had JSTOR’s digitized issues of academic journals. The only other way to afford this was to be a college student or professor.  Sorry, I neglected to tell you, JSTOR is short for Journal Storage and is a digital library founded in 1995. It has improved since I last used it because it now includes books, primary sources and full-text searches of 2,000 journals, with older domain content free. Try it. But use Google Scholar for your topic first to see what Medieval academic stuff turns up. Then access it using your monthly six free reads. See what interesting nerdy stuff you can learn.  Related Prior Post:  Wow! Scribal Research Has Changed

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Resource Mining

One trick to learn when doing SCA research I call “Resource Mining”. It is more fun than saying you can “get resources from the Bibliography” of the book or article you’re reading.  A bibliography is a list of books, articles, speeches, private records, diaries, websites, and other sources an author used when writing a paper. You may find it at the end of an article or non-fiction book. Sometimes it’s called Works Cited or Works Consulted. These lists are useful for the person who creates it because it gives credit to all the authors cited works. It also makes it easy for the enquiring readers to find the source used, but also to later researchers and curious people who are following similar paths. Think of bibliographies as time-saving and access keys to your SCA explorations. Works cited in bibliographies may include more than books, articles, and websites. They may list professional journal article abstracts or summaries that are hard to find or expensive to acquire. The abstract or summary may have just enough information for your SCA project. Or give you a strong reason to seek out the full source. Resource mining is even better when the bibliography is annotated.  In an annotated bibliography each listing gives you its content and value, clues to whether you should read it. If you read a listing that describes the work as “ground-breaking” or otherwise amazing, it’s a clue. It may give you an overview of the source, critique it, or comment on its […]

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How To Find The Source Of Undocumented Online Images

Unidentified Pinterest Image You know those lovely illuminations you find on Pinterest when you search for scroll inspiration. Your perfect source but it has no manuscript information. There’s a way to find the source using the image. It’s called a “reverse image search.” This technique is called “a reverse image search.” It analyzes the image contents itself comparing  its colors, shapes, and textures with a known sample. It does not use a picture’s associated keywords, tags, or descriptions.   This helps you because you don’t need search terms or keywords. It saves you guessing at words that may not be related or use people’s fuzzy labeling.  It helps you find images related to the sample or its popularity. It may also discover any altered or derivative works. To reverse image search using Google Chrome: find your chosen internet image  right click on it  click on “search Google for image” It’s simple, really. You can try it on the above Pinterest picture.  What did you find? When I did it Google found more than 5 sites to check plus several computer-designated similar images. One interesting enough to explore further. While not something you’ll use daily, it is another research skill for your tool-kit. A handy tool for those pesky undocumented manuscript images. Related Prior Post:   How To Google For Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations

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