On Documentation and Languages

Many people are either intimidated by documentation or jus don’t know where to start.  Here are some helpful hints from Biatrichi Canzionari to get you started.  All opinions on documentation are her own.


Helpful Suggestions for Static Documentation

Title

Your title is one of the best ways to tell your judge what is to be judged.  Examples:

Good – Spindle Spun Wool and Making a Scarf from 10th Century Norway
Bad – My Wool Project

In the first, you tell the judge to review the spinning and the method of the scarf construction.

In the second, your judge doesn’t know you didn’t buy the yarn from the Yarn Barn and may overlook your spinning even if you talk about how it was spun in period.

Who, What, Why, When, Where and How?

These are the questions your documentation needs to answer.  This can be a simple list answering these questions, or a multi-page document.  As a best practice, the larger the competition the more documentation will be desired.  A local competition can have one page summary, but Kingdom A&S should include multiple pages and citations.  The average is 5 pages of text and citations and 10 pages with pictures and text and citations.   A summary at the front of a longer document will allow the casual competition attendee understand your work to do a quick but informed viewing.

Who? – Vikings
What? – Wool Scarf
Why? – Because it was Cold
When? – in the 9th Century
Where? – In Norway
How? – They spun the wool on a spindle, and then used nalbinding to make a scarf.

Substitutions

Sometimes you will not be able to do the period method due to cost, availability or hazard.  If you want to make a dodo feather, mercury cured, period felt hat, you will have to make some substitutions. Otherwise, you will mercury poison yourself and try to source extinct bird feathers.  Likewise, if you want to make cloth of gold, then the gold would be cost prohibitive.  Let your judge know if you substituted an item for another.  If there were multiple options in period, note why you chose the one you did.

Audience

Documentation will follow the same guidelines as papers written in the average American high school.   You should have a thesis, or hypothesis, evidence or information and a conclusion.  Some people learn better visually.  If your project has a lot of steps, providing a step by step pictorial of your process, your judge may better understand your methods.

Citations

Points are expected to be cited in your paper at the higher level competitions.  Avoid websites like Wikipedia that give only general information.  Scholarly works from universities and other experts are the best sources.  Your local librarian can assist you with finding resources as well as sites such as books.google.com.  MLS is the documentation style most familiar to judges.  However all formal citation methods are welcome.  It is a best practice to list the style of citation you are using to avoid confusion.  If you are a user of Microsoft Word, citation formats can be automated for you.  See add a citation and create a bibliography for more information.

Length

It only needs to be as long as you need to cover the topic.  If it is getting over 20 pages double spaced, consider narrowing your focus.  Pay careful attention to staying on your hypothesis, or thesis.  If you get off on a tangent, you can include this documentation in an appendix to keep your primary documentation concise and to the point.  Often judges have to read your documentation the day of judging.  If you want to talk about food served at feasts, when your documentation is for dances done on feast days, and appendix will help those who want to read further.

Helpful Suggestions for Performance Documentation

Title

This could include a lot of your documentation requirements. Examples:

Upon a Dead Man’s Head:A poem by the English poet, John Skelton ca. 1498 or
My Superior Poem, an original Sonnet based on the English form utilized by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

For Acquired Pieces

When you find a period piece, there are certain items you need to tell your judges.  Your documentation should include the author or information on who the anonymous work is attributed to.  Include the date composed or information surrounding the timeline of creation.  Often period pieces will appear in post period collections.  A citation on it appearing much earlier from a citation is very helpful.  Finally, include the country, region or setting where this particular piece would be performed.  Items like, “performed in the English Court of Henry the VIII” or “popular song in the Lorraine area of France”, will help your judge set performance expectations on how your piece should be performed.

For Original pieces

Period (century) upon which the piece is based – The elements of the piece that were characteristic in period.  Example: “This original song utilizes a two rhyming couplets followed by a nonsense chorus as one might find in The Famous Ratcatcher, earliest known printing, 1615.”

Area where the style would have been heard/seen

Citations

For Eisteddfod, two citations is the minimum suggestion, but more resources are always welcome in your documentation for any and will improve your overall score.  Avoid sources such as Wikipedia, that include general and unverified information.  Scholarly citations are recommended, and can be found through JSTOR or books.google.com.  Many of our judges prefer the MLS style, though all formal citation methods are acceptable.   It is a best practice to note the style of citation you are using if it is APA, Chicago Manual of Style, or other method. See add a citation and create a bibliography for more information.  

Other Helpful Information to Include

A short discussion of what makes your piece a “standout” in preparation or performance will also guide your judges to better comments and scores.  Information as, “this is considered an advanced piece by music scholars (author, page 4)”, “this took 100 hours of practice to commit to memory” or “poems of this type were performed by nuns (author, page 150). That is why I am dressed as a nun. ” can teach as well as help you get focused comments.

Helpful Suggestions for Research Papers

Audience

If you are writing research papers you probably already have an idea what is expected.  Your paper will be read before Kingdom A&S, but this is not the case at events such as Bryn Gwlad Candlemas.  You will need to follow the same kinds of guidelines as papers written in the average American high school.  Please remember that your judge may have a working knowledge of the topic and what is expected, but your casual reader may not understand all the specialized terms in a particular field.  If your topic includes a lot of jargon, consider using a glossary, or footnote the first instance of that term.

Citations

Points are expected to be cited in your paper.  Avoid websites like Wikipedia that give only general information.  Scholarly works from universities and other experts are the best sources.  Your local librarian can assist you with finding resources as well as sites such as books.google.com, or JSTOR.  JSTOR can often be accessed through a library card, and books not in your local library can be loaned through interlibrary loan.  Again, your librarian can help.  MLS is the documentation style most familiar to judges. However all formal citation methods are welcome.   If you are writing a science oriented paper with a lot of analysis, APA may be a better choice.   If your topic is humanities based, Chicago Manual of Style, may be a better choice.  It is a best practice to list the style of citation you are using to avoid confusion.  If you only know release 5 of APA and there is now a release 6, use it and note it in your citations.  This will avoid confusion in judging.  If you are a user of Microsoft Word, citation formats can be automated for you. See add a citation and create a bibliography for more information.  

Length

It only needs to be as long as you need to cover the topic.  The average paper in History and Social Science is 20 pages double spaced.  If it is getting well over that, consider narrowing your focus, and pay careful attention to staying on your hypothesis, or thesis.  Though, you are welcome to write a book if that is what you want,  let the Kingdom Arts and Sciences minister know so plenty of time can be given to judging.  Remember, any off topic or tangential information can be summarized and included in an appendix and keeps you from losing your main point.


Helpful links for Foreign Language Period Books for the Advanced Researcher

This is NOT something that is required in documentation.  This is just for those few curious overachievers.   English language resources are just fine. 

From time to time you find an original foreign language or middle English resource.  Though a modern dictionary can assist, here are some links that can help.

Italian

John Florio’s 1611 Italian/English Dictionary and his smaller 1598 edition. can assist in reading transcriptions

.Archaic Italian Verb Conjugations – For verbs you cannot find in a modern Italian dictionary.

French

Randle Cotgrave’s 1611 French/English Dictionary – Can assist in reading transcriptions.

Archaic English

Old English Dictionary – Resource from the University of Toronto

Middle English Dictionary – Resource from the University of Michigan

German Languages

Various German Resources – As Germany was not technically a place in Germany, here is a list of resources to assist you with the many types you may encounter.

Latin

Ancient Latin – For ancient Latin information from the University of Notre Dame.  This is not medieval or “church” Latin

Free Medieval or Ecclesiastical.  Free resources dictionaries are more incomplete than pay ones.  Try the University of Oklahoma’s Medieval Latin  for headword searches.  If you read French this is free from the Sorbonne and quite complete.  Oxford has some specific subject lists here for free and some additional resources.  

Paid Medieval or Ecclesiastical Latin – You can get some small format medieval dictionaries online from Amazon or another bookseller.  They will get you through most simple lookups.  For the most complete resource there is the Oxford  Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources .  They have it in three print volume for $650.  They don’t say how much the subscription actually is, which is usually a bad sign for the thrifty researcher.  Here is the page to inquire on the subscription and if you can figure out how to subscribe you probably do need the whole book.

 


 Updated - Biatrichi Canzionari di Palermo 5/2/2018