In due gratitude to the Bavarian State Library…

Logo of Recensio.net

Ordinarily, when someone mails me to ask me to put something they do on my blog—which does happen—I delete that thing on sight. This is partly dislike of spam, and much more likely it is a self-protecting assumption that if it’s of interest to me I can find it out by myself. Obviously that is frequently wrong, and this is one such case. It is also the case that I very frequently make use of the suitor’s resources and have posted about them here before, so this one I will let through. Jonathan, what are you talking about, goes up the exasperated cry no doubt. Well, the afore-mentioned Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, who have brought us a wealth of digitised medieval texts in their original parchment and ink forms and who also, you know, host the digital Monumenta Germania Historica, have put a new site up called Recensio.net that aims to:

create a Europe-wide, multi-language platform for reviews of historical literature

with a highly searchable OPAC-based interface mediating (open) access to several major journals’ reviews, as well as encouraging user-generated content in response to materials submitted to the site for ‘presentation’. This is interesting, because they are deliberately eroding the difference between what they call “»classical«” reviews (I suspect they may want to defriend that particular faux ami) and, well, internet reviews like those on Amazon or the greater united blogosphere. Various bloggers, including literature scholars and archæologists and, I suppose, I, have pondered how we might take academic work to the Internet for instant response, critique and a more genuinely democratic peer review. Well, here is someone providing a gateway that will not sit in ghetto where only the same people will read it but where the scholarly work that is being generated anyway will rub shoulders with the wider contributing public’s thoughts. I don’t think this can be a bad thing, and presumably neither do the German Historical Institute Paris (DHIP), the Institute for European History (IEG) Mainz or the German Research Foundation (DFG), who are funding it or doing it too. Already a search for items covering the European Middle Ages brings back nearly 300 items, and though really quite a lot are in the Slavic languages and thus closed to me, there is other interesting stuff there too and you may not have my particular linguistic or chronological blind spots—there is much much more there that is not medieval. Why not have a look? If you’re like me, you owe these guys a few minutes for all those they’ve saved you…

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2 responses to “In due gratitude to the Bavarian State Library…

  1. Peripheral: This whole blog really is amazing, a piece of art. Someone should recognize how much work it must be, so I am.

    • Well, gosh, thankyou, I’m flattered! At the moment, as has been quite clear over recent months alas, I don’t have as much work spare for it as I apparently did, but more is coming, honest.

      (“But… is it art?”)

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