|Web for Medieval Source-based Textual Scholarship|
|Medieval source-based textual scholarship is arguably blessed
by the internet. Scholars can exchange paleographic, codicological and
other philological information on listservs like MEDTEXTL. They can work in
teams, examining text and digitized color photographs shared as e-mail
attachments, or as file transfers, in JPEG, GIF and other image formats
on web pages, debating the significance of a serrif, a minim, or
evidence of a trimmed manuscript page. They can exchange MIDI, MP3 and
other audio files for editions interpreting manuscripts of musical
scores. The distance separating team members is little relevant and
they are as mobile as their digital communication devices.
In addition, textual scholars can produce critical editions on the web which would not be given due consideration by traditional paper publishers, not because of quality or of methodological soundness, but simply because of the money involved in producing critical editions that are fully appropriate for a variety of readers, and which take advantage of the enormous amount of relevant information available in our time. These editions will certainly enhance the reader's ability to judge the validity of an editor's choice of manuscripts or readings.
To promote the increasingly possible concept of shared knowledge in medieval books extending beyond the walls of remote and wealthy collections, The Andy Holt Virtual Library offers a section devoted to the sources of medieval texts: the codex, which had begun to gain wide-spread use in the era of the Codex Sinaiticus (4th century), and which made its recognized print debut in Gutenberg's Biblia vulgata (15th century). We cover manuscripts with historical, descriptive, scientific, artistic and philological information, allowing readers to deal intelligently with them, and we offer links to periodicals and blogs that will keep readers informed of the latest developments. The second page links readers to over 130 catalogs, inventories and lists of medieval manuscripts, while the third page connects readers to digital facsimiles. The Andy Holt Virtual Library completes its medieval source-based textual scholarship study with a similarly structured sub-section on incunabula.