The End of the Book ............ ?
The magic of archive-searching lies in its many opportunities for serendipity – sudden discoveries by accident. Paradoxically, near home but found in strange web life concealment far afield we find the entire medieval and Tudor history of an English village, not in its County Record Office but in the Department of Economics of the University of Connecticut. There http://ideas.repec.org/ are housed 3495 journals, series and working papers with 569,259 items online and 282,188 working papers range from Afghanistan to Wyoming. Amongst them we find the entire text of “The Economic History of a Norfolk Village from 1086-1565” by Frances Gardiner Davenport, published in 1906, its website updated in 2008. The village is Forncett St. Mary, and the complete book of 257 pages can be downloaded on a PDF file. Its appendices tabulate essential documents, a Subsidy Roll of 1332, the texts of manor court rolls and an account roll of 1272. There is the map of a survey of 1565 which can be enlarged and printed. This is a model for other places, and many can be found on the same website - Faversham in Kent, Finmere in Oxfordshire and Framland in Leicestershire. Found on the home screen, no other treasure could so aptly have reconciled me with my original fear of conflict between computer and library. That book is certainly not dead! The computer has taken my own distanced learning very far from the Library.