Welcome to Arcanum, the Brandon Sanderson Archive. We're here to collect everything Brandon ever says about his books--the "Words of Brandon," as they are called--with a focus on collecting information related to the cosmere.
- Brief History
The Arcanum Director is WeiryWriter. Contact him for any policy questions, such as notability or style questions.
The Arcanum Webmaster is Mestiv. Contact him if you wish to contribute to coding, or if you wish to implement your own instance of Palanaeum.
The Arcanists are the other staff members, who process uploaded audio files, review transcriptions, and otherwise keep the content up-to-date. Some of them are listed below; contact one of them if you have a question about how to use Arcanum.
The 17th Shard Head Administrator is Chaos.
"Words of Brandon" have been around a long time; we were getting them before the books had even been published. The first WoBs came from the Time Waster’s Guide, a forum which Brandon and several of his friends created. As Brandon was writing books and just beginning to get published, he would use the forums to bounce around ideas and interact with early fans. An important example is a thread from 2008 (the Official Hero of Ages Spoiler Q&A) which was the first big look behind the scenes at Shards and the Cosmere.
As Brandon’s books began to gain popularity, he continued to answer questions and offer information about the universes he was creating. The primary way he shared information was answering fan questions at signing events and conventions. He was also vocal and interactive in online spaces, notably on Reddit and Twitter. He would also answer questions as part of a personalization for people who ordered signed books through his website. As these happened, people on fan sites would report what they’d learned.
Several sites began to aggregate these tidbits. The Brandonthology was one early aggregator, collecting WoBs up through 2011. After Brandon began working on the Wheel of Time in 2008, Theoryland began including Brandon’s content in its existing Interview Database; not just Wheel of Time related information, but stuff about Brandon’s original works, as well. The 17th Shard forums, started in 2010, collected reports from fans who were at signings. Over the years, many individuals began bringing recorders to signings (though this is no longer permitted for legal reasons), and fans would collectively transcribe these signing lines in Google Docs.
Brandon’s company, Dragonsteel Entertainment, also began to grow, and other members of his staff began to interact with fans at signings or on social media. Peter Ahlstrom, his vice president and editor; and Isaac Stewart, his art director, are two examples of individuals who have provided information over the years, which were not always collected and documented in an orderly fashion.
After the Wheel of Time concluded in 2013, the 17th Shard staff realized that the community would need a new site to collect Words of Brandon. In 2017, after several years of development and exploration, Arcanum was launched to completely contain the process of gathering, transcribing, and organizing WoBs. It uses custom software, called Palanaeum, to host audio files directly on the site, allowing for greater speed and transparency of transcriptions. And since anybody can make an account and suggest edits, it allows the community to quickly and efficiently keep the collection of WoBs up-to-date, regardless of where they are coming from.
Palanaeum (and Arcanum, specifically) is an open source project; although the core functionality is in place, there is always room for improvement and advancement. We plan to continue developing the website in the years to come to provide an even better experience for Brandon Sanderson fans to learn more about what Brandon has shared about his worlds and his works as well as any other fandoms that develop their own instances. And we hope that you’ll join in and contribute, whether through adding content, helping with coding, or just sharing what you discover with others!
By the way, the site has never been pink.