Our new website is evidently having the desired effect of raising public awareness of the project. It has been ‘up’ for just one week and already it has brought us two enquiries about the Dictionary and Medieval Latin, one of them from outside the UK. We welcome contact from existing and potential users of the Dictionary and are always interested to hear what uses the fruits of our work are being put to.
For many years in fact the project rather shunned publicity. Even within our present home in Oxford University we were little known. However, particularly in these last few months as we push to the end of the alphabet in print and develop our electronic data and plans, we want to take the opportunity to let the world know what we do, to explain what Medieval Latin is and why it is important, and to highlight what the Dictionary can do for anyone reading Medieval Latin.
What is more, we appreciate that the Dictionary has a lot to offer to potential users beyond our obvious core of users such as professional historians and archivists, not all of whom may be as aware of our work as they could be. We want to reach out to all our potential users and we need to raise our profile to do so.
In the academic world, scholars in a whole range of other fields come into contact with Latin texts from the medieval period, including those who work on, for instance, literature, music, or philosophy in the medieval world. Many of these texts have not been translated; some have not even been published and exist only in manuscript form. Nowadays, many students of the medieval world have not had the opportunity to acquire any grasp of Latin, whether Classical or Medieval. For these, the assistance we can offer for the vocabulary is a vital contribution to making these texts more accessible to those who are interested.
There is a still wider audience for the DMLBS and it is outside the professional scholarly community of universities, schools, heritage organizations, and so on. It includes people tracing their family history or the history of their local area. It might include community groups like the U3A learning or reading Medieval Latin for fun. We believe there are many possible users of the DMLBS and we’d like to hear from any of our present or potential users in both the scholarly world and the wider community about what the Dictionary does or can do for you!