What do scripture commentaries, modern English translations of ribald Latin Poetry, Piers Plowman, and verse translations of Syriac hymns have to do with each other?
Not much, except that they are the most recent additions to Fordham’s Online Medieval Sources Bibliography. The Online Medieval Sources Bibliography (OMSB) is a database of modern editions, both print and online, of medieval primary sources, designed to help users of all kinds find the most suitable edition for their needs by describing in detail an edition’s contents, best audience, and useful features. The sources described above represent just a small sampling what has been included in the database since its inception in 2003.
One interesting facet of the project is the way in which it has grown over the years, recently detailed by Fordham CMS Director and project founder Maryanne Kowaleski, in an article from the digital medievalist online journal, co-authored by Morgan Kay, who has played a crucial role as the project’s computer programmer and coordinator. As Kowaleski and Morgan have noted, entries are researched and recorded by graduate assistants from the Center for Medieval Studies who are employed on a year-by-year basis, so that the site has grown according to the individual interests of each graduate student who has passed through.
This year, graduate assistants Nicole Andranovich, Rachel Butcher, Abigail Sargent and Joseph Rudolph are each contributing source descriptions in their areas of interest, including medieval Coptic and Greek literature, biblical commentary and exegesis, English documentary sources, Syriac theological work, and medieval Latin poetry. Abigail Sargent notes that working on the OMSB has been a great learning experience, and is “valuable for learning to efficiently assess how and by whom a source might be used. It also gives you exposure to a number of different materials you might not come across in your own coursework.”
There are currently over 4000 medeival source descriptions on the OMSB, which can be searched by multiple fields, including date, author, geographic region, type of resource, and original language.