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Some General Advice

Don't depend on the Web! 
While medievalists--people who study the Middle Ages--have been quick to take advantage of the World Wide Web, the fact is that Medieval Studies has been around for a long time as a college and university subject, and even longer as something people were interested in. So a great part of the information available about medieval subjects is in the form of printed media. You can find some interesting and useful things on the Web--but depending on your subject, you may very well find better information more easily by looking in good  encyclopedias, books, or even scholarly journals.
Interviewing is not the first step.
As a general rule, scholars (by which I mean college and university professors and other folks who study some academic subject, like the Middle Ages) explain the results of their work to other scholars (and anyone else who may be interested) by giving lectures (often at large conferences, like the annual Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo), by publishing articles in journals (specialized magazines that usually come out about once every three months, and which libraries often bind together to make into books for the library shelves), by writing books, and, often, by teaching classes. For that reason, a scholar is likely to feel that he or she has said what he or she had to say in some piece of writing, and may feel put out when asked a question like "Professor Smith, I know that you have written a book about Saint Swithun. What can you tell me about him?"  What Professor Smith can tell about Saint Swithun is presumably in the book, and the professor might possibly answer the question by telling the questioner to go read it.
        I know (having taught English for a long time) that teachers who are trying to give their students a more general sense of research than simply paraphrasing an encyclopedia will sometimes give an assignment that requires the student to send a business letter to an expert on a subject, either asking questions or requesting an interview. There are some areas where that sort of assignment will work, but, as a general rule, it will not work when the subject you are investigating is an academic one. As a rule of thumb, if a person has published something on a subject you are interested in, you should read that publication before you try to contact the author.

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The Big Three: standard sites for medieval research on the Web

  •  ORB The Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies, including

  •  The Labyrinth  A vast collection of medieval texts and resources (at Georgetown University) 

  • NetSERF Logo NetSERF: The Internet Connection for Medieval Resources (now a freestanding resource, originally housed at The Catholic University of America)

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Our Top Fifteen

  • THE CAMELOT PROJECT is designed to make available in electronic format a database of Arthurian texts, images, bibliographies, and basic information. The project, begun in 1995, is sponsored by the University of Rochester and prepared in The Robbins Library, a branch of Rush Rhees Library. The Camelot Project has been designed by Alan Lupack, Curator of the Robbins Library, and Barbara Tepa Lupack.
  • Arthuriana on the Web Compiled by Norman Hinton (at ORB)


  • The Chaucer Meta-page This project was initiated at the 33rd International Congress of Medieval Studies by a group of medievalists interested in promoting Chaucer studies on the WWW. Its aims are: to organize and provide navigation aides for Chaucer resources on the WWW; to work towards enhancing and extending those resources; and to encourage Chaucer studies, including those undertaken via "distance learning," at all levels of education.
  • The Crusades: Eschatological lemmings, Younger sons, Papal hegemony and Colonialism by Jessalynn Byrd (at ORB)
  • Crusades: A Commentary on the BBC Series By Paul Crawford (at ORB)
Manuscripts & Illumination
Medieval Studies for the Nonspecialist: A Guide to Online Resources (at ORB), including Bibliography and FAQs on Popular Medieval Figures and Issues, ed. Laura Blanchard
Misconceptions about the Middle Ages (at ORB)
Richard III
Robin Hood
  • THE ROBIN HOOD PROJECT is designed to make available in electronic format a database of texts, images, bibliographies, and basic information about the Robin Hood stories and other outlaw tales. The project is sponsored by the University of Rochester and prepared in The Robbins Library, a branch of Rush Rhees Library. The Robin Hood Project has been designed by Alan Lupack, Curator of the Robbins Library, and Barbara Tepa Lupack.
  • The Viking Heritage Organization Server and Database. The aims of Viking Heritage are: To draw the attention of the general public to the common European cultural heritage through an understanding of the history and travels of the Vikings worldwide, and their fruitful collaboration with different peoples. To encourage the preservation and enhanced understanding of the Viking period cultural heritage as a source of social, economic and cultural development. To provide the public with information and knowledge by according a special place to cultural tourism or related practices across the Viking world.
  • Scandinavia and the Northern Seas: A Guide to Online Resources. Section Editor: Tamsin Hekala (at ORB)

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This page last revised on January 4, 2001.
The decorative motifs are from Eva Wilson,
Early Medieval Designs from Britain for Artists and Craftspeople, Dover Books, 1983. The Up Arrow is a heraldic pheon, from the program Blazon, available through: The British Heraldic Archive

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