Other news: Issue 17, December 2016

MeMO news

The MeMO project: four years later - a time to evaluate

In January 2013 the launch of the online MeMO database (http://memo.hum.uu.nl/) was celebrated with a conference held in Utrecht, which attracted great interest in the Netherlands and abroad. Since then, our work has not stopped, because there are always improvements to be made to a database. Our time has been spent updating the contents of the database, making corrections, adding new objects and text carriers, and improving the user-friendliness of the homepage.

Now, almost four years later, it is time to evaluate how far we have come. The MeMO team invites the users of the database to share their experiences. We would like to know who is using the database, and how and why. Also, how do our users rate the database in terms of the quality and quantity of the information that is provided, the research that has gone into compiling the information, and the accessibility of the various search functions?

There are three things you can do to help:

1. Fill out our MeMO questionnaire. If you are a user of the MeMO database, frequent or otherwise, please take a moment to fill it out, as this would help us determine how and where to improve our services.

2. While you are at it, please also consider filling out a questionnaire for the newsletter MMR.

3. Share with us your stories about using the database. We would be very interested to hear what has resulted from your use of the database - for example, whether the database has been used for publications, websites, theses, or research projects. We are interested in accounts from all of our users, regardless of experience and background - from published scholars to students.

Examples of the type of information we are interested in, include:

  • Lists of publications or papers resulting from your use of the MeMO database
  • Websites that refer to the MeMO database
  • Short (or longer) accounts of how your project or research benefitted from the database
  • Accounts of teaching experiences using the database
  • Etc.
Please share your experiences with us, at the following e-mail address: memo.gw@uu.nl

Note: we are also interested in hearing about your future plans for using the MeMO database!

By taking the time to fill out our two questionnaires and sharing your experiences, you help the MeMO project improve its services, and evaluate the success of the database. This in turn could be a great tool to help us secure future funds and continue our work.

We thank everyone for contributing.

Other news

IDEM - A Database for Music Sources

The Integrated Database for Early Music (IDEM) is an interdisciplinary, multifaceted database of (currently seventeen) manuscripts and printed books that are relevant to the Alamire Foundation's research and activities. It therefore especially focuses on the musical heritage of the Low Countries from the early Middle Ages until 1800.

IDEM is constructed around a central database, consisting of the digital images of primary sources, mainly digitized by means of the Alamire Digital Lab, the high-technology photography centre of the Alamire Foundation (KU Leuven - Research Group Musicology). Its state-of-the-art equipment allows musical sources to be photographed following the strictest standards and quality requirements.

The database core is surrounded by interrelated sub-databases that will eventually contain information about every aspect of the manuscripts and books concerned, including their physical characteristics, their content and illumination, as well as recordings, editions and so-called 'fake-similes' (adapted versions of the original images, facilitating performance from the original notation).

This overall approach is related to the database purpose. It aims indeed at providing material that enables the consultation of manuscript and printed sources from multiple perspectives and at different levels. To meet this objective, IDEM has been conceived as an online, freely accessible platform and tool for the preservation, study and valorisation of the music heritage of the Low Countries.

Out of Sight but not out of Mind. Representation of the Danish Nobility in the Late Middle Ages (1400-1537)

Researcher Tine Kondrup
University University of Southern Denmark
Department IH (History Department)
Supervisor Associate professor Lars Bisgaard

This Ph.D. research project seeks to investigate the representation of Danish noblemen, primarily via gravestones and wills but also through other sources connected to the commemorative culture. In the Middle Ages noblemen were multifunctional characters, who carried out a range of different functions: they were masters and protectors of serfs, royal warriors, politicians, advisors and officials, and they were patrons of the church and holders of clerical offices. They also took part in multiple communities: family, village, and church among others. When representing themselves for the here and the hereafter, however, not all of these identities could be displayed equally or simultaneously. It is interesting, therefore, to raise the following research questions:

  • How did the noblemen represent themselves in memorial media? In which ways did they wish to be remembered?
  • Which functions and communities were expressed, and which did they attach most importance to?
  • Were there regional variabilities? Was there a certain 'Danish or Scandinavian way' of depiction?
  • Within this time span, were there any temporal changes?
  • Were there differences between the representation of men from the higher and the lower nobility? In theory, the nobility was a unity but in reality there were large economic as well as functional differences between the highest and the lowest members of the rank. Furthermore, many families of the lower nobility owed allegiance to higher noble families. Hence, I hope that my examination will reveal any differences there might have been between the two categories. Even though it is hard to measure a specific nobleman's status within the actual rank, I hope to be able to trace some patterns on this at the very end of my dissertation.
My work so far has concentrated on the gravestones. I have located 80 stones (most still exist but some are only preserved as antiquarian drawings) that represent a range of different families from all aspects of the noble hierarchy. Thus, the material seems representative, even though the actual number of gravestones must have been much higher in the Middle Ages and many stones are now lost due to fire, reuse, demolition of churches, etc. It is my intention to investigate these gravestones both quantitatively and qualitatively. Hence, I am looking for some specific elements, e.g. representation of lineage and functions such as knighthood or political offices, symbols that could reflect certain events or aspects of the nobleman's life, and the mentioning of titles in the inscription. In a greater perspective I am looking at the choice of burial place, both within the specific church but also regarding the type of church chosen as the final resting place.

During my preliminary research, I have come across gravestones comprising some interesting elements, one of which I would like to present here: the gravestone of Henrik Rosenkrantz (†1537) incorporates what seems to be a Jerusalem cross. However, instead of displaying four Greek crosses in the corners of the cross potent, the crosses here are tilted as if they were saltires. A memorial shield that Henrik had made some years prior to his death features the same incorrect Jerusalem cross, which rules out that the artisan was responsible for the 'mistake'. I have only been able to find one other example of a Jerusalem cross from Scandinavia. This is shown within the tabernacle of Ringsaker in Norway, and here the depiction is that of a proper Jerusalem cross. Thus, my thoughts on Henrik Rosenkrantz's crosses are: 1) that it is a mistake, which he himself was responsible for, perhaps by drawing the cross as a model for the artisan of the gravestone and memorial shield respectively. Henrik was, in fact, in Jerusalem in 1522 where he was knighted and might have seen the symbol displayed. It is easy to think that his recollection of the symbol was not precise upon his return; 2) or that these crosses are some sort of Danish variation of the Jerusalem cross. Due to this mystery, I am very interested in information on any other European examples of incorrect Jerusalem crosses. Should there be scholars out there with such knowledge, I would be grateful to hear from you.

Full article and contact details available in the full issue of MMR.

The Church Monuments Society (CMS)

The international Church Monuments Society offers the opportunity to advertise conferences and calls for papers on subjects related to monuments, death and commemoration on its website www.churchmonumentssociety.org. Events are also announced via Twitter. Coordinating online publicity for the CMS is Professor Madeleine Gray (University of South Wales).

The CMS publishes lists of recent publications (articles, monographs, exhibition catalogues and essay collections) relating to the above subjects in its biannual Newsletter, which is sent out to its members. Information about relevant new publications can be sent directly to the CMS for the attention of Dr Oliver Harris. Suggestions for book reviews in the annual peer-reviewed journal Church Monuments can be sent to its Book Review Editor, Dr Sophie Oosterwijk (University of St Andrews). Click here for contact details.

Back to top

This page was last updated on: December 16th, 2016

MMR Updates

December 16th, 2016:

The seventeenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.

March 11th, 2016:

The sixteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.

May 23rd, 2015:

The fifteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.

November 24th, 2014:

The fourteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.

March 25th, 2014:

The thirteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.

September 19th, 2013:

The twelfth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.

January 14th, 2013:

The eleventh issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.

September 12th, 2012:

The tenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available. This is a double issue so be sure to check out both Part One and Part Two.

March 6th, 2012:

The ninth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available! In this issue you will find many new book announcements and information on projects dedicated to digitising memorial registers.

Older updates

September, 2008: MMR Newsletter launch. September, 2010: web design by Charlotte Dikken. This website was tested and works on Internet Explorer, Opera and Firefox and is best viewed on a fully maximized screen. For full functionality, please ensure your browser has JavaScript enabled. For any questions regarding this research group, the newsletter or the website please feel free to contact the webmaster.