|Socio-economic and humanities research is a key field in the knowledge economy that addresses changes in Europe’s social, economic, political and cultural make-up. Research monitors the way that societies are organised and governed and how they evolve. It considers the impact of multilingualism, values and history in constructing modern Europe. Humanities takes a new look at societal values and the impact of technological
innovation on past and present societies. In this context, understanding medieval times is vital to understanding today. Medieval research is based on the knowledge that European cultural and scientific development was born from a common but diverse heritage of Western, Arabic and Jewish cultures. Medieval studies promote understanding of this heritage and foster intercultural dialogue to ensure that cultural diversity is understood and respected. Over recent years, medieval studies have been facilitated by databases containing textual corpora, national dictionaries, bibliographies with commentaries, authority lists of medieval authors and repertoires of medieval authors and works. These databases make knowledge accessible to scholars through modern technology. Examples of European and international databases are numerous, and include general sites on the medieval period, large scale dictionaries, large collections of texts, electronic management of manuscripts and archives and repertories and indexes of medieval codices and manuscripts. Furthermore, medieval material is present in national dictionaries and general historical resources are available at EuroDocs. In some areas databases have evolved to Virtual Research Environments (VREs): digital infrastructures hosting texts and offering tools for textual analysis, comparison and editing. A VRE provides a framework of resources to support research, particularly for disciplines such as Medieval Studies, which are not well catered for by current infrastructure.
Given the increasing number of on-line information sources, specific concerns include: quality of material; technological quality and interoperability of databases; training of researchers in use of new technologies; on-line installation of databases; uniformisation of computerised grammar; elaboration of search engines; creation of a common format for storing and exchanging data and of common management platforms.
The Cost Action IS1005 takes an innovative approach by:
- linking medieval studies to modern technology. Use of ICT in this field is overlooked, despite its potential to improve and substantiate research. Medioevo Europeo takes a new approach by supporting the application and testing of advanced e-science initiatives in a specific sector of humanities research, which is often identified more for its historical resources than potential to inform e-science
- linking technological development with training of researchers. Documentation is gradually migrating to electronic internet based repositories. To manage that migration and take advantage of the possibilities, trained professionals must understand both humanities and ICT. However, this is insufficiently promoted in European universities or research centres. Thus, the innovative nature of the Action lies in offering training (with focus on early stage researchers) to apply advanced information technology to the intellectual content of the humanities.
The Action addresses problems faced by medieval studies researchers: lack of integration and resource coordination; lack of technological skills; insufficient provisions for quality control. Medioevo Europeo will improve accessibility to results of medieval research, through increased technological standards and skills, by committed participation in Action activities. Partners collaborate through scientific workshops, STSMs, Training Schools and Research Conferences, to gain in-depth knowledge on existing databases and means of access They also participate in outreach and communication activities, thus spreading the benefits of the work.
The main objective of the Action is to increase accessibility to and integration of medieval research results and tools through improved technological instruments and skills. This will not only upgrade quality and efficiency of research in this field, through the use of advanced ICT, but will also ensure increased employment potential for early stage researchers.
Verify existence, status and interoperability of databases, in order to structure the VCMS.
Verify quality and content of medieval manuscripts available on-line, with a view to enlarging cooperation and increasing accessibility.
Promote research into texts and textual corpora to ensure greater understanding of cultural exchanges between different medieval ethnic groups, religions and cultures.
Define, test and disseminate a portal hosting the VCMS.
Intensify Exchange between European regions on projects relating to on-line Medieval resources, thus increasing territorial know how and capacities.
First MC Meeting Brussels 31 March 2011
The MC identified the institution of the Action Chair, the SISMEL (International Society for the Study of Medieval Latin) (IT) as its grant holder. Dr Silvia Agnoletti was appointed as Grant Holder Secretary and The MC nominated Mr Iliyan Yzunov (BG) and Dr Tuomas Heikkila (FI) as Financial Rapporteurs.
Second MC Meeting
The Second MC Meeting Was held in Heidelberg on 4 November 2011.