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Why Medieval? with Doug Moncur

I’m not really a medievalist, but for some reason I’ve always had a fascination for that nebulous period that we could call late antiquity/early medieval when things changed in some very interesting ways.

I don’t have an explanation why this fascinates me so much, except it goes back a long way, to second or third grade when I was asked to be what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I replied ‘an archaeologist’, which kind of confounded my teacher who probably expected something a little less exotic.

Anyway that dream was not to be. I ended up as a research psychologist and then later on working in information technology in that area which we can loosely call digitisation and digital archiving, but a long the way I maintained an amateur interest reading a lot, visiting places and boring people with my fascination.

All the way through I was always interested in old documents, something that really got me started in digitisation. This goes back to when I was kid in Stirling, Scotland and the main library used to have this display of the town records and transcriptions. And one day I realised that all this stuff about people being fined for having dungheaps where they shouldn’t actually told you stuff about how the town was laid out and how it functioned – something that gave me a great deal of insight into digitisation preservation and reuse.

Doug

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