|Collaboration makes the goodness happen! From the Golden Munich Psalter.|
This is a post to encourage you to read, and to COMMENT, on the Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales. Brought to you by the genius of its editors (in alpha order, Candace Barrington, Brantley Bryant, Richard H. Godden, Daniel T. Kline, and Myra Seaman), its writers (which include these extraordinary people, including Jonathan Hsy and me), and YOU.
YOU, especially if you are a Chaucerian or a teacher of Chaucer, or a graduate student working on Chaucer, or a long time Chaucer fan of whatever sort. For the Open Access element of the project means that many of its contributors (like me!) have had their essays posted to be read by you, and to get comments from you, which will be used to improve them with your help. Right now, about half the project is online and available for your most welcome participation.
The Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales is written for the classroom; it's online, for the classroom; and apart from the labor, and the server cost, it's free, and so far as your students go, it really is a free resource. If you're a medievalist in an English department, chances are that teaching The Canterbury Tales is one of the things you often do. This project, this wonderful project, will make that good thing even better.
I'll let the mission statement speak:
This is, we hope, a radically innovative enterprise and a new way of making a scholarly resource. The goal of the OA Companion is to put together a high-quality companion volume supporting first-time readers of the Canterbury Tales, and to provide it in an open-access downloadable format that’s free to all. When completed, the OA Companion will be made available online under a creative commons license. The OA Companion is intended for a global audience of English readers from a wide variety of institutions (or extra-institutional locations), and it features editorial principles and set chapter formats that blend scholarly precision with pedagogical adaptability. It’s a project that aims to go forward in a new way, directly from scholars to the public. We are not working through a traditional press or university structure. The OA Companion project is improvisatory and exploratory. To bring something like this to fruition, the current team needs as much labor, expertise, and goodwill as the medievalist community is able to spare: we seek volunteers willing to share their skills and time as crowdsource reviewers, proof-readers, web designers, and advocates for the project.Click here and join in. If you're teaching the Canterbury Tales this Fall, consider doing some of your teaching with this project; consider having your students read it and let you know what works and what doesn't; why not have them comment as part of their participation grade? Even if you yourself want to comment just to procrastinate on writing your syllabi (as I am!), know that it's all rather bite-sized: the pieces are short (~3000 words), sharp, smart, and a pleasure to read.
This collaborative model of knowledge production and community making really does enact the ethos that I'd like to believe went into and continues to drive this blog, and its readers. Do join in.