Cornell University Library Inaugurates Electronic Version of ‘Islandica’

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Cornell University Library Inaugurates Electronic Version of ‘Islandica’

Old Norse-Icelandic Series Now Published Online

ITHACA, N.Y. (May 5, 2009) — Cornell University Library’s world-class collection of books on Iceland is inaugurating an electronic version of its scholarly series in Icelandic and Norse Studies. Islandica, which was first published in 1908, is now available online to the international scholarly community in a searchable, open-access format as well as in print.

The series is an extension of Cornell University Library’s Fiske Icelandic Collection, the largest in North America and among the three most comprehensive in the world. Daniel Willard Fiske, Cornell University’s first university librarian, bequeathed his Icelandic collection to the Library upon his death in 1904; now, the collection includes more than 40,000 volumes on all aspects of medieval and modern Iceland and the Norse world.

The Library publishes the Islandica series, which welcomes manuscript submissions from scholars in all areas of Icelandic and Norse studies, from medieval to modern. Cornell University Press is the distributor for the series.

For the first three decades of Islandica, a new volume appeared nearly every year. Most were authored or edited by Halldór Hermannsson, first curator of the Fiske Icelandic Collection. As Old Norse-Icelandic literary criticism evolved, the series adapted, producing deep scholarly studies, exhaustive literary bibliographies and authoritative translations.

“Islandica is returning to a venerable model, one in which academic librarians engage directly in scholarly publishing,” said Patrick J. Stevens, managing editor of the series and curator of the Fiske Icelandic Collection in the Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

Stevens views the model as a natural extension of Halldór Hermannsson’s work during his tenure as curator and series editor in the early part of the 20th century, adding that “electronic open access offers scholars an effective and attractive medium for dissemination of research, no less in the esoteric humanities than in the hard sciences.”

Volume 53 of Islandica, “Speak Useful Words or Say Nothing”: Old Norse Studies by Joseph Harris, is now available. The volume was edited by Susan E. Deskis and Thomas D. Hill. Forthcoming as volume 54 is Romance and Love in Late Medieval and Early Modern Iceland: Essays in Honor of Marianne Kalinke, edited by Kirsten Wolf and Johanna Denzin.

Stevens cited the collaborative effort behind the new Islandica as essential. “I truly appreciate the counsel I received from my Cornell Library colleague, Teresa Ehling [scholarly communications strategist], and the energy of Mahinder Kingra [marketing director for the Cornell University Press], along with many other people devoted to this endeavor.”

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