Although associated primarily with the Internet Medieval Sourcebook,
this Help! page is designed to be of use to any user of serious
online resources who is looking for more information.
What you can find help on here
Because of the large scale usage of the various Internet History
Sourcebooks, I do not have time to answer the
ten to twenty emailed requests for help I get each day. This page is designed to answer
most of your questions. I have done more than my bit in providing and making
information available. Now you need to look elsewhere.I particularly apologize for this response to the various high school students [and
their parents] who contact me each day for help with homework. To those who ask me simply
to do their homework, let me say, 'Do it yourself!', but to those who want more general
help or guidance, again, I simply do not have the time. Still, if you follow the
guidelines below you will find something of use to you.
Bibliography and Web Sites
If I know of a web site it is already linked to from one of my pages.
For the middle ages and Byzantium see the list of links at
If I know of a useful or available online text, I link to it already.
There is no point in writing and asking me for a text if it is not here! [On the
other hand, if you want to scan and edit a text, then I do want to hear from you.]If you are after books or bibliography suggestions, many libraries are
now on the Net. Try searching Melvyl - the University of California
Library system - probably the best place for bibliographic searches. It is available via
telnet at telnet://melvyl.ucop.edu [give your
terminal type as "VT100"] There is no general search engine for academic journal
articles, but through Melvyl you can link to CARL, which lists recent periodical
literature. See also:
Many people are interested in their family history, or supposed "royal",
"imperial" or "aristocratic" background. You have to do this research
by yourself, since, not surprisingly, few other people are interested in your
family history. Good places to start are:
Medieval discussion on the net
If you are engaged in a specific project, or have a particular topic you need to know
more about, it makes far more sense to ask many people rather than just one:- you may find
real experts, and you may find people who have time to give very specific answers. The
best way to do this is to join a medieval mailing list, or access the Usenet groups which
discuss such issues.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can do bibliographic research on the net better than in almost any given library.
But you cannot do real original research on the net - that
requires going to libraries. The information on the net is distinctly
"middle-brow" - translations, English versions, and selections, rather than
original texts, original languages, and complete collections. This may change in the
future, but only with extensive funding.Remember: If all else fails, try asking a librarian!
- List of Medieval Discussion Mail
Lists [E. Duncan]
- Mediev-l [Medievfirstname.lastname@example.org]
is probably the best general medieval academic list. To join send a message with the text
"subscribe mediev-l [your-name]" to email@example.com
. Send messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Byzans-l [Byzansemail@example.com]
is the best Byzantine studies list. To join send a message with the text "subscribe
byzans-l [your-name]" to firstname.lastname@example.org
Send messages to email@example.com
Is the main Usenet disussion group for "serious" history.
is self explanatory.
- For "re-creation" history contact the following Society for Creative
About the Internet
Searching the Internet
Listings of Medieval Websites
Specific Medieval Search Engines
- Internet Medieval Sourcebook Search Page
Riding on the back of the Hotbot search engine, this lets you search the
texts in the Sourcebook, or texts at other Historical etext websites, or the entire net.
Searching Net Resources
The big problem with Internet search engines is that they do not serach online
databases. This is a page compiled by Ross Scaife at Kentucky which lets you
access many of the databases of interest to Medievalists, Byzantinists and Classicists.
Searching the Whole Internet
The Web is vast and now that it contains more, and more diverse information,
than any single printed source. This availability of information will only increase and is
a truly splendid new tool to help in your research. To use the Web efficiently, the
various search engines are essential. It is important to form your query words as clearly
as possible. For instance, if you are interested in finding information on a particular
musician, do not search for "music", but for a style [eg "jazz" or
"gregorian chant"] or even a name ["abba", "charlie parker",
"hildegard"]. Here are links to the best "wide area" search engines on the Web.
Yahoo is best, I think, if you are looking for specialized websites. Altavista, Excite,
and Hotbot all index many more documents. These engines will always turn up more
references, but far more will be dross than with Yahoo. It is useful to start with Yahoo
since it has a nice feature - once it tells you everything that it has found, it will
automatically plug you in to the other search engines.
Sources on the Net
The best for web sites as opposed to specific documents.
The most flexible of the search engines - it lets you get 100 hits at a time.
AltaVista: Main Page
Competes with Hotbot to be the most comprehensive search engine on the web.
A sort of combination of Yahoo and Hotbot. It has its own list of commented on
websites, but also plugs into Altavista.
Some people love this search engine. I think it loads too much advertising onto
Lycos seems to have lost much of its early lead.
Allows you to search messages to usenet/netnews.
- Reference.COM Search
This lets you search the past postings of mailing lists [rather the usenet
newsgroups] Since a higher quality of discussion takes place on such lists, this can be
- Search for Lyrics
- Other Engines
The following are all online, and you might something useful there. I
History (and Related
Subjects) Net Guides
- Encyclopedia.com from Electric Library
This lets you search for date in the online Columbia Encyclopedia.
Its great for checking dates, etc. It ties into to the pay-for-access Electric Library,
which can give your, for a fee, access to online articles from a wide variety of sources.
- Brewer's Dictionary of
Phrase and Fable 1894
A searchable compendium of all sorts of information.
- My Virtual Reference Desk - My Facts Page
A hierarchical guide to where to find information on the net.
- AltaVista: Translations
Provides an online translation service to/from English and
The WWW Virtual Library
A searchable and comprehensive co-operative annotated guide to the net by scholars
in each subject area.
of Net Information
About Medieval People
- Writing/Research Guides
- Citation Guides
Common Medieval Questions
- What Medieval People Looked Like
- The History of Costume, Braun
& Schneider - c.1861-1880 [At SIUE]
This is a wonderful online resource with full color plates of all periods of costume
- How to Cook Medieval Food
Master Huen's Boke of Gode Cookery
A compilation of Medieval recipes from period sources, with modern adaptations for the
20th c. kitchen. With diverse facts on food & feasting in the Middle Ages, and many
things related historically. [At SCA site: at labs.net]
- Medieval Bathing and Toilet Habits
- Society for Creative Anachronism
The SCA is the main Medieval "re-creation" history group, and some of its
members have very useful websites on Medieval everyday life. [Unlike, for instance, US
Civil War groups, the SCA does not "re-enact" any real events. Generally, people
in the SCA "create anew" what they particularly like about the medieval era (or,
in some cases, what they particularly like about what they think they know about the
CAVEAT EMPTOR! (Buyer Beware!) - what you find on SCA sites may have
little (or nothing) to do with what actually happened in the middle ages.
SCA for a listing of SCA sites.
- Stefan's Florilegium
A collection of a variety of SCA members posts on all aspects of daily life in the
ORB: Medieval Studies for the Nonspecialist:
A Guide to Online Resources
Covers issues such as the Middle Ages in Movies, fiction for Students of History,
Bibliography and FAQs on popular medieval figures and issues, introduction to the Middle
Ages for adults and young adults, the BBC Crusades Series (Monty Python goes on crusade),
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, The Great Stirrup Controversy, Richard III, Thomas
The Internet Medieval Sourcebook participates in
ORB, the Online Reference Book for