Submissions/The sum of medieval knowledge

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no. 6021
Title of the submission
The sum of medieval knowledge
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)


Author of the submission

Ed Buckner

E-mail address
Email this user
User:Edward Buckner
Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)

I am co-author of Time and Existence: Duns Scotus’s Questions on De Interpretatione, which will appear in September this year, published by Catholic University of America Press.

Personal homepage or blog


Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

The medieval period spans the fourth century to the fifteenth century – more than a thousand years. During that period, scholars produced works that filled whole libraries, and laid the foundations for modern science and scholarship. The work produced during that period is part of the sum of human knowledge, yet little of it is accessible to us. Only a small percentage of medieval writing is available in modern printed editions, and even less is available to those who do not understand medieval Latin or ancient Greek.

This presentation discusses ways of using wiki technology to make the sum of medieval knowledge available to everyone on the planet. It will include:

  • A brief introduction to medieval thought, and how it connects Greek and Roman culture with the modern world.
  • How Greek science was transmitted using manuscripts. The difficulty of reading and understanding manuscripts, and how the use of wikis could help this process. The difficulty of open access to manuscripts.
  • Medieval culture and its contribution to the modern world.
  • The difference between an ‘edition’ and a ‘critical edition’. Why most critical editions are still on paper.
  • The business model of current academic publishing, and why it is difficult to create a new model.
  • How wikis could help scholars create editions online.
  • Putting modern critical editions online. Can there be copyright on works written 700 years ago?
  • Translating Latin and Greek texts into English and other languages. Why Google translator works for modern languages but not so well for ancient ones.
  • Overview of online scholarly communities. Why scholars are not yet using wikis.
  • Ways in which the wiki movement could help scholars understand and use wikis better.
  • Ways in which scholars could help the wiki community to capture, summarise and store knowledge better.

The talk will provide information about an important and substantial field of scholarship that is still not well understood in the wiki community. There is a need for scholars to understand wikis better, but there is also a need for the wiki community to understand the scholarly community better. The presentation will suggest ideas on how to build a bridge between the two communities, and will look to the audience for further ideas.

It will include exhibits such as an early printed book, a manuscript copy, and examples of software used to transfer early written or printed material online.

  • Open Scholarship
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 Minutes + 10 minutes questions if possible
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?


Slides or further information (optional)

I will be bringing some examples of early printed material and manuscript copies for attendees to look at if they are interested.

Special requests

Internet access to show the software would be useful, but not essential

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with four tildes. (~~~~).

  1. AdamBMorgan (talk) 15:56, 10 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. John lilburne (talk) 18:55, 10 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Slashme (talk) 08:47, 22 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Anthonyhcole (talk) 10:30, 23 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Scott (talk) 19:30, 23 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Andrea Valori (talk) 20:33, 28 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  7. --MF-Warburg (talk) 21:33, 29 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  8. --Jayen466 (talk) 23:16, 29 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  9. IMulvany (talk) 11:04, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Micru (talk) 10:36, 15 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]