What is the Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance (MESA)?
The Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance (MESA) is a federated international community of scholars, projects, institutions, and organizations engaged in digital scholarship within the field of medieval studies. MESA seeks both to provide a community for those engaged in digital medieval studies and to meet emerging needs of this community, including making recommendations on technological and scholarly standards for electronic scholarship, the aggregation of data, and the ability to discover and repurpose this data.
The Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance (MESA) project received a three-year implementation grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in June, 2012, to begin the organization of a federation of digital projects in the field of medieval studies and to develop recommendations for the social and technical infrastructure to support this federation. Medieval studies is ripe for such an initiative, having a long tradition of digital projects dating back to the 1940s. Moreover, the interest in digital issues amongst medievalists is not limited to a select few, as each year witnesses a growth in the number of digital medieval studies projects and an increase in the number of papers and sessions with a digital focus at the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies. Although there is some structured support for medieval scholars who develop digital projects (e.g., the Digital Medievalist Community of Practice and the Medieval Academy of America’s Digital Initiatives Advisory Board), until now there has been no attempt to create either social or technological infrastructures that can be shared amongst the broad community of medievalists. The MESA project intends to remedy this, taking advantage of existing communities and initiatives both within medieval studies and in other disciplines that have already made strides in project interoperability and infrastructure development.
The MESA project federation website will launch in late 2012.