[During the 2021/2022 academic year, the Gramsci center for the humanities took part in an academic project of the University of the Republic of San Marino entitled The San Marino Political Archives: census, digitization, fruitionCoordinated by Luca Gorgolini (Unirsm), by Michele Chiaruzzi (Unibo; Unirsm), and by our director, Massimo Mastrogregori, the project availed itself of the scientific advice of a research group … Continue reading.
The final outcome of this work will be the publication of a Guide to the recorded archives of personalities and political parties, enriched with more detailed theoretical insights, which will act as a first indispensable tool for accessing the heritages existing on the territory of the Republic; alongside this, as Gramsci center, we have tried to reflect on the formulation of a proposal for the digitization of the identified material, which would provide for its fruition and wider valorizationA video mockup of the portal can be accessed at this link..
In our perspective, however, the occasion was also valuable to set up an initial general study of the different possibilities and forms of transferring, rendering and fruition of archival records in the digital environment. Attention to how the digital revolution is changing the ways in which culture and knowledge are produced, processed, and consumed, in its various declinations, is in fact one of the directives guiding the work of our center since its foundation.
The first fruit of this reflection will be four releases, curated by Andreas Iacarella, which will take the form of an attempt to deepen dialogue and reflection on a theme that appears as urgent as ever to solicit. We are certain that the technical and scientific nature of the discourse cannot be eluded, and that therefore the debate will have to be increasingly brought into a dimension of extreme interdisciplinarity, involving all the actors involved: professionals in communication, knowledge design, information technology, specialists in cultural heritage (archivists, librarians, curators, etc.), as well as historians, art historians and all those categories of scholars who represent the traditional users of archives. The different knowledges will have not only to talk to each other, but to intertwine, to hybridize, certainly losing something of their specificities, to the advantage, however, of a more advanced design of archival digital environments, which can become a vanguard in the construction of the common memory of the communities of reference. With this in mind, what we want to offer is but a small critical contribution to the discussion, with the presentation of some general problems and issues, in the hope that this may provoke further reflection.
Summary of the episodes:
a. From online inventory to digital library: comparing experiences
b. Constructing a narrative: the paths of history on the web
3. The archives of politics on the web
a. The archives of Italian political parties and the challenge of the internet: a bumpy ride
b. Letters and commercials: two successful cases of valorization
c. From Archivi del Novecento to 9centRo: network experiences compared
In this episode we will offer a specific focus on the digitalization experiences of Italian political archives, trying to highlight their limitations and strengths.
Problems of definition
It is first necessary, as a premise to the discussion, to mention a problem of definition. As Linda Giuva has pointed out, the boundaries of “political archives” are in fact not established once and for all, but “are constantly changing by registering the transformations that have occurred in the very concept of politics, undergoing the reflections of institutional reforms, historiographical parameters, and changing archival sensibilities”L. Giuva, Nature of Political Archives: Considerations and Problems, in M. Valentini (ed.), Gli archivi della politica. Proceedings of the Conference. Florence, April 11, 2012, Regional Council of … Continue reading.
To give a concrete example, the 1980s represented, thanks to the contribution of social history, a paradigm shift for political history in Italy: “grappling with the study of subjectivities and communities, of social groups in their interaction with institutions, opened the field (…) to the full appreciation of both the political dimension of the social and the more overall political sphere”M. Ridolfi, History of parties and history of politics for contemporary Italy. Themes and sources for a comparative approach, in The archives of political parties. Acts of the seminars in Rome, June … Continue reading. That is, a history of politics in a broad, disseminated sense has emerged, expanding the range of sources to draw on. This has also been accompanied by important changes in “archival theory in considering archives the papers of movements and associations”L. Giuva, Nature of Political Archives cit., p. 14., indispensable in this new historiographic perspective.
In other cases, it was the political and historical events themselves that led to the emergence of new sensitivities and preservation needs: in the early 1990s, the crisis of the republican party system urged “historians and archivists, cultural and parliamentary institutions to initiate interventions directed, on the one hand, to the recovery and physical shelter” of the documentation of dissolved parties, “on the other hand, to work on ordering and description so that it can be consulted”Ibid..
But the issue of dissemination and the definitional complexity of collections of political sources also arises at a more basic level. Even in the case where a single party is to be taken as the object of study, documentation may in fact have been produced, and preserved, not only at its central apparatuses and at the public institutions in which its members held roles or offices. Party activity may have been declined in a galaxy of territorial organizations (circles, sections, cooperatives, etc.), collateral associations (youth, women’s, trade, etc.), editorial and press initiatives, study centers, etc.; not to mention the personal archives of political exponents, national or local, leaders, administrators, militants and sympathizers, which equally may preserve valuable tracesFor these issues see D. Taraborelli, “The Really Serious and Serious Things They Never Put in Writing”. Formalizing Informality: political party archives between center and periphery in … Continue reading.
In light of these few hints, we therefore believe that for our discourse the definition of political archives should be used in the most extensive sense of the term, seeking to safeguard this polymorphous and diffuse nature of political action and the inevitable interweavings, first and foremost between public and private dimensions, that bear witness to it.
a. The archives of Italian political parties and the challenge of the internet: a bumpy ride
The Senate collections
We begin by turning our attention specifically to digital party archives, with respect to which the landscape in Italy is rather poor. The inventories of several fonds related to the historical parties of the Italian Republic are offered for online access through the aforementioned portal of the Historical Archive of the Senate of the Republic. In particular, these are the archives of the Italian Republican Party, preserved by the Ugo La Malfa Foundation, the Italian Social Movement-National Right fund, owned by the Ugo Spirito and Renzo De Felice Foundation, the archives of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party, belonging to the Filippo Turati Foundation of Historical Studies, and the fund in the name of the Parliamentary Group of the Christian Democrats in the Senate, preserved at the Luigi Sturzo Institute. In all four cases, these are funds federated with the Senate Historical Archives through special agreements by the preserving bodies. For the digital rendering, what was said in the second installment applies: the complexes are presented explorable through the digitized inventory, in the form of a navigable hierarchical tree; the archival units are adequately contextualized by description cards to which, eventually, digital images of the documents are attached. The result is a tool of great usefulness limited to specialized users.
We have mentioned the Sturzo Institute, which holds, in addition to the fund already mentioned, the archives of the Christian Democrats and its various parliamentary groups, as well as of numerous leading figures of the party (Giulio Andreotti, Tina Anselmi, Emilio Colombo, etc.). The institute adheres to the Lazio ‘900 portal, which we will mention later, but it also allows the exploration of its holdings directly from its own site, through the online publication of navigable inventories of the various fonds, with the relevant files. Without repeating ourselves further, we can find here what has already been said about the Senate archives, that is, a focus entirely on a user base of researchers and scholars and little interest in the valorization of the patrimony for the purpose of constructing narratives intended for a wide audience.
Remaining still within the party horizon of the First Republic, an important tool is the portal Sources for the history of the Italian Communist Party (Pci)The project is the result of the collaboration of the Gramsci Foundation with the various Gramsci Institutes of the Peninsula, the Audiovisual Archive of the Workers’ and Democratic Movement, … Continue reading. The site was created as a point of aggregation of the archival descriptions of fonds and documentary nuclei produced by the central and territorial organs, exponents and militants of the PCI: it is thus constituted as a place of collection of the information already present on the web, creating a unified point of first access to the various resources. The homepage offers, after a simple search bar, the possibility of exploring the different census funds divided by category of producing subject (central bodies, territorial bodies, individuals); funds can also be located through a map, which shows the geographical location of their places of preservation, or directly by producing subject.
In contrast to other platforms, in this case the descriptive sheets are limited to explaining the history and consistency of the fonds and the people or bodies connected to them; for the exploration of analytical inventories or other reference tools, when available, one is redirected to the site of the respective preserving entity. Thus, there is not even virtual integration between the different heritages, as the search mode only allows one to query the descriptions on the site, which stop at a very general level.
A few other tools are offered, accessible from the homepage, which collect the only digitized documents that can be consulted directly on the site: the lists of the members of the Federal Committees (1948-1989) that were sent to the Pci’s National Directorate at the end of local congresses, searchable by Region and year; thematic galleries (“The Congresses,” “The Unity Festivals,” “The Videos”), which offer a selection of materials with a strong visual impact, accompanied by concise captions; and the partial digitization of three periodicals (Lo Stato operaio, from 1927 to 1936; l’Unità, from 1924 to 1926; L’Ordine nuovo, from 1919 to 1925). Particular emphasis is also given to the “Contribute to the Portal” page, which, however, is limited to indicating contacts to whom to report funds and materials not already known about.
An online guide
We are thus faced, in this case, with a tool that was created with a very different purpose from those already seen, namely that of mapping the funds related to the history of the Italian Communist Party, without, however, going in the direction of putting the different heritages and related data in communication. The site thus appears, with due differences made, as an online version of a printed archival guide, which synthetically lists several heritages selected by thematic homogeneity or by producing subject. Despite the attractive graphic design, the criteria that guided the design choice thus appear rather limiting: of the digital environment, neither the potential for thickening and enriching the search mechanisms, with the possible interweaving of data from complexes distributed throughout the peninsula, nor even less those related to communication and historical narration have been exploited.
It appears evident, from these few examples given, that cultural institutions dealing specifically with the preservation of Italian party heritages have not presented state-of-the-art digitization models, mostly limiting themselves to the possibility of online consultation of inventories. Rather poor, too, appears to be the offer of digital reproductions of the preserved materials, as well as their use for the construction of paths of shared history and memory building; for the most part, these portals seem to be intended exclusively for specialized users.
b. Letters and commercials: two successful cases of valorization
We continue this exploration by considering two additional case studies that show significant specificities and may fit into the more general definition of political archives we have given ourselves. For both of them, the extremely narrow thematic field and the homogeneity of the types of materials allowed the construction of effective tools for digital collection, rendering, and fruition.
Under the impulse of the Trentino Foundation Alcide De Gasperi, the statesman’s family, the Bruno Kessler Foundation and the Luigi Sturzo Institute, the project to collect and digitally publish the entire De Gasperi epistolary in an open access archive was launched. Recognizing the value of the initiative, in 2016 the then Ministry of Cultural Activities and Tourism officially established the National Edition of the Epistolary of Alcide De Gasperi. The portal thus established, which is easy to consult, presents some in-depth scientific tools to contextualize the life and work of the Trentino politician (biography, chronology, bibliography). The digital archive of the letters offers for each document: an enlargeable reproduction of the original; a brief summary of the contents; a descriptive sheet in which, in addition to material and preservation information, correspondents, personalities or institutions mentioned in the text and themes are indexedThe themes identified are: private life, national politics, international politics, local politics, religion, culture, economy, society. ; the full transcription of the text, made through a semi-automatic system, accompanied by explanatory notes and with the possibility of viewing also the reader friendly transcription (which provides for the dissolution of abbreviations, etc.)The editorial criteria and guidelines adopted in the work can be consulted online..
The archive can be browsed, as well as through free search, to which multiple filters can be applied, by subject, by phase of De Gasperi’s life, by person or institution. The creation of a digital edition of the epistolary of a leading political figure, realized thanks to the collaboration of numerous institutions, holders of the individual documents, represents a very advanced example of collaboration between cultural institutions for the virtual pooling of their heritage. The juxtaposition of the original and the transcription also makes it possible to meet the needs of differentiated users.
The other example we want to briefly mention is the Archive of Political Commercials. The project was born in 2008 out of the collaboration of several universities on a research project oriented to investigate the popularization of politics, through the collection, classification and analysis of a rather heterogeneous corpus of commercialsThe results of the research were published in E. Novelli, “The political commercial and the genres of popularization,” Political Communication, 3 (2012), pp. 481-508..
In order not to disperse the heritage thus assembled, the University of Roma Tre subsequently established a digital archive, with a related portal. In the following years, the project was continued in correspondence with the main electoral appointments, expanding the collection and enhancing its interpretation and contextualization. In recent years, the archive has expanded its area of interest by initiating the preservation and study of other forms of election materials as well: posters produced since 1993, a date identified as a watershed for the change in political communication, and social materials (web cards, videos, etc.).
The purpose around which the project was born is clearly to bring together, interpret and make accessible materials pertaining to political communication, in order to investigate the new forms it has taken and continues to take in the direction of greater popularization. A purely scientific purpose, therefore, which was accompanied, however, by the creation of a user-friendly tool for a wider audience as well.
The homepage of the portal scrolls through news items related to the materials collected during the last elections, and a gallery offers a random selection of eight documents, designed to show the breadth of the archive. Three sections (ads, posters, social) introduce the different documentary types, illustrating their main characters and providing some historical background about their use. A search page allows the entire archive to be queriedCurrently 3012 documents are accessible online. The data are current as of March 15, 2023. by term and by entering ad hoc filters: type of material; party or principal; type of election; year; political figure; theme. A hierarchical thesaurus has been adopted for the identification of themes, dividing some macro-areas into more specific subjects. The reproduction of each document is displayed along with a descriptive sheet that illustrates its graphic aspects, history, with related contextualization elements, and material data.
Finally, a “Pathways” section allows for certain predetermined tracks to be followed through the documentation, such as “Antipolitics,” “Leaders,” “Seduction,” “Common People,” “Humor,” etc. In the thematic choices, the intent to propose an interpretation of the materials is clearly discernible, yet at the same time appealing to all types of users. Also in this open logic, the homepage contains lists of the most visited documents and paths.
In the two cases just examined we are clearly dealing with what are called invented archives, i.e., purely virtual collections of documents that gather materials from different funds around a specific purpose (narrative, scientific, popular, etc.)On the concept of “invented archives,” see R. Rosenzweig, The road to Xanadu: public and private pathways on the history web, in Id., Clio Wired. The future of the past in the digital … Continue reading. The first portal takes, more specifically, the form of a true digital editionSince we do not have the space here to explore this issue in depth we refer, among others, to F. Michelone, “The critical edition between digital and print: methodological … Continue reading. In the second case, on the other hand, an agile tool offers both a freely explorable collection useful for further exploration and a presentation of materials designed according to clearly identifiable interpretive paradigms. Thus, this seems to us to be a particularly successful attempt at digital enhancement, with a view to mediating between scientific and popular discourse, between specialists and the general public. Since many of the materials preserved are born digital, the portal also constitutes an important attempt at archiving in this sense.
c. From Archivi del Novecento to 9centRo: network experiences compared
As already mentioned, in Italy the issue of the preservation of historical party archives emerged strongly in the early 1990s, in correspondence with the political upheaval that marked the beginning of the so-called Second RepublicOf the specialized debate of those years can be found in The archives of political parties. Proceedings of the Seminars in Rome, June 30, 1994, and Perugia, October 25-26, 1994 cit.; The historical … Continue reading.
An avant-garde project
That period saw the birth of an Italian project, Archivi del Novecento, at the forefront of digital enhancement of archival recordsThe portal was decommissioned in 2012, but a copy of the site is archived and accessible at the following link.. Launched in 1991, on the initiative of the BAICR Sistema Cultura Consortium, and thanks to the participation of numerous cultural institutions, it had the ambitious goal of creating a unified point of access to the sources of Italian history of the last century. In fact, the philosophy of the project was to “connect archival sources by historical complementarity and homogeneity of funds, not only in order to make historical research less impassable (…), but above all in order to integrate documentary sources, recovering the new type of sources that characterize the ‘900″G. Nisticò, The project “Archives of the Twentieth Century. Network of archives and integration of sources, in The archives of political parties. Proceedings of the seminars in Rome, June 30, … Continue reading. The focus was not on political archives, but because of the nature of the institutions and foundations that joined it became a de facto key reference in that field.
The member institutions used the same software, sharing descriptions of documentary resources in a common online databaseTechnical information on the project can be found at the following link.. As evident, this approach specifically addressed two issues, which were of particular relevance to go to the aid of researchers: the virtual unification of papers belonging to the same producing subject but scattered in several places of preservation; and the possibility of cross-querying across the various fonds, allowing thematic threads to be followed.
The project clearly fell within the first type of digitization we identified in the second installment: aimed at a specialist audience, it allowed direct exploration of the computerized inventory of fonds, collected by institution, or free, advanced or specific searching (extended to all holdings or limited to only some). Archival unit descriptions were thus retrievable and located within the typical inverted tree structure, and digital images of the papers could be attached to individual records. It is worth noting, as a symptom of a particular sensitivity in the relationship with the users, the work that within the project was attempted in the direction of a unified thesaurus, which would guide the compilation of the “descriptors” field, allowing a refinement of thematic searchesSee S. Auricchio et al., “Project “The Words of the Twentieth Century – A thesaurus for archives” of the Archivi del Novecento network,” Archivi, II, 2 (2007), pp. 9-49.. Rather limited, however, were the tools offered to a broad audience: galleries of images extracted from the fonds and a fairly meager page of “Thematic Readings.”
Following the project’s closure, its mission was taken over, albeit on a smaller scale, by the Lazio ‘900 portal, which arose from the collaboration of several entities (Lazio Region, Lazio Archival and Bibliographic Superintendence, Memoria society, etc.)See M. Tosti Croce, “Il portale Lazio ‘900,” The world of archives, Nov. 23, 2017.. Created with the aim of not dispersing what had been built in the previous experience, the tool presents itself updated from a technological point of viewThe change of platform marked the transition from the shared software GEA to the new Archiui. but in continuity with regard to the services offered to its users. The actual digitizations of the indexed materials can be reached, in addition to the descriptive sheets, from a “Digital Collections” section, in which the documents are grouped by type of medium (audiovisual, bibliographic material, correspondence, photographs, etc.); however, querying and presentation are rather cumbersome in this section. The strength therefore remains in the decision to unify on a single platform the descriptions of otherwise dispersed heritages, offering researchers possibilities of querying by institute, by fund or free. Secondary in the overall organization of the site are the dissemination and communication aspects.
From pole to digital
A portal similar in layout but directed to a wider user base is 9centRo, created by the Pole of the ‘900, a cultural center in Turin that brings together the heritages of 26 institutes in the Piedmont region. Here, too, it is not a tool exclusively directed at political archives, but due to the nature of the funds collected it constitutes a fundamental reference in this sense.
It is necessary to note, first of all, how in this case we are dealing with a physical, rather than a digital reality, a center that has made the creation of an open space and the construction of a civic and cultural discourse aimed at the entire citizenry its main focusCf. the Report 2021 of the Pole of the ‘900, which can be downloaded at the following link.; we point out, as proof of this approach, the attention paid to didactic and educational projects, including for schools, as well as the intense production of podcasts, videos, interviews, and content usable from the Polo’s website and social media.
Following this line, the 9centRo portal, also built on the Archiui technology platform, is immediately welcoming to users: a free search bar is displayed at the top right, while scrolling through the homepage clearly outlines the different paths that can be followed by users, based on interests and level of specialization. From the list of member institutions, identified with representative images, it is possible to access the conserved heritages and view their online inventory, in the form of a navigable structure; similarly, two boxes refer to the consultation of library and archival holdings, which can be explored through a unified catalog created ad hoc, allowing simultaneous searches on the different types of materials.
An open portal
This search engine represents one of the most interesting aspects of the site, since it allows, as mentioned, cross-queries with respect to both preserving bodies and documentary types, refinable through various criteria. The search returns information sheets that in the case of archival materials allow one to move immediately to the exploration of the source fonds, according to their hierarchical structure. Numerous documents are offered directly in digital format on the site: 74,227 images, out of a total of 609,501 files, according to what is prominently displayed on the homepage. Directly accessible from the homepage are the digitized collections of periodicals and the “Digital Gallery,” or the overall collection of multimedia materials on 9centRo, the exploration of which is enabled by a special filter in the general catalog. Also prominently placed on the homepage is the overall index of names (people, journals, institutions, etc.) that appear in the portal’s material descriptions, whether bibliographic or archival, which allows an additional search path to be outlined.
The strongly generalist imprint of the site, which aims to offer all users the tools to explore its heritage, can be seen both in the editorial choices adopted in the compilation of the various pages, which describe in a simple and level manner the different paths that can be taken, and in the choice to make the visual element dominant, which has the undoubted ability to attract users’ attention and generate curiosity. This attitude reaches its peak in another section offered on the homepage, the one called “Stories and Paths”: the page offers a collection of materials grouped by themes, people and stories. Exploring a single path, for example, “Weaving the Thread of Democracy. Bianca Guidetti Serra,” one accesses a virtual, navigable and interactive exhibition, created as a Prezi presentation, which can be explored in various directions based on the user’s suggestions, through the juxtaposition of summary descriptions and images. On the other hand, the Pole seems committed to deepening its relationship with the digital, in the direction of an increasingly diversified and rich user access to archival heritage, as evidenced by the Smart Archive Search (SAS) projectFrom the presentation of the project: SAS “aims to build a new relationship between citizens and archival assets. In the relationship with archives, smart agents enter the scene: intelligent … Continue reading.
Pathways to citizenship
Even in its current form, however, the 9centRo platform constitutes a very modern example of those digital libraries, which we discussed in the second installment, which are highly integrated and interoperable, and which accompany the rigor of description with differentiated modes of heritage use. It thus falls among those portals that allow “querying data without traditional disciplinary barriers” and offer solutions that support “a plural vision,” “paths of serendipity,” facilitating “the creation of community”G. Michetti, “If a lion could speak, we could not understand it. Cultural heritage communication in the digital environment,” AIB Studies, 58, 2 (2018), p. 218. However, a balance is maintained between a “narrative,” and specifically civic purpose, pursued through ad hoc designed tools and the preservation of the possibility of “neutral” access to sources, allowing for independent exploration of their connections and interweavings, without limiting them to predetermined paths. The success of this model is evidenced by the growing number of accesses to the portal (56,000 in 2022, up from 17,000 in 2021)“Polo del ‘900: doubling visitors, 48 thousand in 2022,” Ansa.it, Dec. 30, 2022., as well as by the international recognition achievedThe Polo has been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Canopy Platform, which brings together the world’s most innovative experiences in integrating heritage conservation with sustainable … Continue reading.
Based on the comparison with this experience, one would have to wonder if the low interest in the use of digital media for dissemination by the institutions examined in the first part of this installment is not also related to the exercise of some form of “possessive memory.”The concept was proposed by Braunstein in reference to the protagonists of the movements of the 1960s, see P. Braunstein, “Possessive Memory and the Sixties Generation,” Ácoma. … Continue reading by them, born largely from those same political communities whose papers they preserve. The purely imitative useFor this concept, see J. Mussell, Doing and making. History as digital practice, in T. Weller (ed.), History in the Digital Age, Routledge, London and New York 2013, p. 80. that of the digital is made in those projects, to retrace analog tools of research and sorting, keeps them far removed from an open and shared idea of archival source enhancement. Predominant seems to be, for those institutions, their own conservative role, rather than the attempt to constitute themselves, on the basis of the heritages of which they are custodians, as agents engaged to this day in the construction of citizenship and memoryFor a partisan critique of the use of archives by cultural foundations, see A. Benassi (ed.), “Foundation Archives are Seen Only by Insiders. Interview with Gianni Minà,” … Continue reading.
On the other hand, the experience of the Polo del ‘900 shows how a cultural center born with a strong civic imprint, directed to the active involvement of the citizenry, has sought in the digital rendering of its heritage the most appropriate tools to pursue the same aims in the new contextOn the same genre, we can mention the English experience of the Labour History Archive & Study Centre, linked to the People’s History Museum in Manchester. The institute collects evidence … Continue reading.
A road in the making
As Roy Rosenzweig and Daniel J. Cohen have argued, the use of the Internet to offer and collect historical records should rest on a clear vision: “it is undoubtedly a more democratic form of history than found in selective physical archives or nicely smoothed historical narratives, and it shares democracy’s messiness, contradictions, and disorganization-as well as its inclusiveness, myriad viewpoints, and vibrant popular spirit”R. Rosenzweig, D. J. Cohen, Collecting history online, in R. Rosenzweig, Clio Wired cit., p. 151.. What the two authors wrote seems particularly significant to us when applied to the digital rendering of political archives in a broad sense, also definable as archives of participation, to which we have devoted this installment. Although inevitably the discourse involves the very institutional nature of the entities that champion these projects and their cultural mission.
As argued earlier in this research, the model that is adopted is not neutral, but carries with it a layering of purposes and meanings. Fully accepting the democratization that the digital environment entails should lead the promoters of such projects to enrich their perspectives, moving in the direction of an ever greater integration of scientific and more generically cultural and popular work. The variegated public to which the network exposes calls with great force for additional reflection, so that its contents can be truly, and not only materially, accessible to all, and so that in sharing it enriches at the same time the solidity and variety of its scientific discourseFor an interesting example in this sense, see the case of Aspi – Historical Archives of Italian Psychology, to which we referred in the second episode..
This path appears, in relation to Italian political archives, still all in the making, with few exceptions. For the type of materials preserved, however, the idea of more and more work to move from an all-too-canonical fruition of the archives of participation to their real digital participation seems particularly seductive.
|↑1||Coordinated by Luca Gorgolini (Unirsm), by Michele Chiaruzzi (Unibo; Unirsm), and by our director, Massimo Mastrogregori, the project availed itself of the scientific advice of a research group composed, in addition to the coordinators, of Rosa Gobbi (State Archives of the Republic of San Marino), Isabella Manduchi (State Archives of the Republic of San Marino), Matteo Sisti (Memorie di Marca) and Stefano Vitali (former director of the Central Institute for Archives). The census was carried out by Damiano Muccioli, while Alessandro Fiorentino and Andreas Iacarella worked on the digitalization proposal for our center.|
|↑2||A video mockup of the portal can be accessed at this link.|
|↑3||L. Giuva, Nature of Political Archives: Considerations and Problems, in M. Valentini (ed.), Gli archivi della politica. Proceedings of the Conference. Florence, April 11, 2012, Regional Council of Tuscany, Florence 2016, p. 13.|
|↑4||M. Ridolfi, History of parties and history of politics for contemporary Italy. Themes and sources for a comparative approach, in The archives of political parties. Acts of the seminars in Rome, June 30, 1994, and Perugia, October 25-26, 1994, Ministry of Cultural and Environmental Heritage, Rome 1996, p. 32.|
|↑5||L. Giuva, Nature of Political Archives cit., p. 14.|
|↑7||For these issues see D. Taraborelli, “The Really Serious and Serious Things They Never Put in Writing”. Formalizing Informality: political party archives between center and periphery in Italy, speech at the training seminar Party archives from paper to digital, University of the Republic of San Marino, December 2, 2022.|
|↑8||The project is the result of the collaboration of the Gramsci Foundation with the various Gramsci Institutes of the Peninsula, the Audiovisual Archive of the Workers’ and Democratic Movement, the Enrico Berlinguer Association-Network of Democratic Foundations, and the Ferruccio Parri National Institute – Network of Institutes for the history of the Resistance and the contemporary age; the technical part was taken care of by Regesta. exe.|
|↑9||The themes identified are: private life, national politics, international politics, local politics, religion, culture, economy, society.|
|↑10||The editorial criteria and guidelines adopted in the work can be consulted online.|
|↑11||The results of the research were published in E. Novelli, “The political commercial and the genres of popularization,” Political Communication, 3 (2012), pp. 481-508.|
|↑12||Currently 3012 documents are accessible online. The data are current as of March 15, 2023.|
|↑13||On the concept of “invented archives,” see R. Rosenzweig, The road to Xanadu: public and private pathways on the history web, in Id., Clio Wired. The future of the past in the digital age, Columbia UP, New York 2011, pp. 203-235.|
|↑14||Since we do not have the space here to explore this issue in depth we refer, among others, to F. Michelone, “The critical edition between digital and print: methodological considerations,” Umanistica Digitale, 5, 10 (2021), pp. 25-48.|
|↑15||Of the specialized debate of those years can be found in The archives of political parties. Proceedings of the Seminars in Rome, June 30, 1994, and Perugia, October 25-26, 1994 cit.; The historical archives of European political parties. Proceedings of the Conference, Rome 13-14 December 1996, Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Rome 2001; S. Suprani (ed.), The archives of political parties and movements: archival and historiographical considerations, Archilab, San Miniato 2001.|
|↑16||The portal was decommissioned in 2012, but a copy of the site is archived and accessible at the following link.|
|↑17||G. Nisticò, The project “Archives of the Twentieth Century. Network of archives and integration of sources, in The archives of political parties. Proceedings of the seminars in Rome, June 30, 1994, and Perugia, October 25-26, 1994 cit., pp. 251-252.|
|↑18||Technical information on the project can be found at the following link.|
|↑19||See S. Auricchio et al., “Project “The Words of the Twentieth Century – A thesaurus for archives” of the Archivi del Novecento network,” Archivi, II, 2 (2007), pp. 9-49.|
|↑20||See M. Tosti Croce, “Il portale Lazio ‘900,” The world of archives, Nov. 23, 2017.|
|↑21||The change of platform marked the transition from the shared software GEA to the new Archiui.|
|↑22||Cf. the Report 2021 of the Pole of the ‘900, which can be downloaded at the following link.|
|↑23||From the presentation of the project: SAS “aims to build a new relationship between citizens and archival assets. In the relationship with archives, smart agents enter the scene: intelligent software that, using techniques such as Natural Language Analysis and computer vision, navigate archives and automatically “read” their contents (text, audio, video), gradually learning to recognize recurring shapes, colors and concepts. Thanks to smart agents, it is possible to go beyond classic keyword searches, accessing increasingly intuitive and natural interfaces, online and offline, also based on gesture and voice and, above all, on new conceptual modes. The project uses novel research-action modes that add to the technological aspect the participatory-performative one.”|
|↑24||G. Michetti, “If a lion could speak, we could not understand it. Cultural heritage communication in the digital environment,” AIB Studies, 58, 2 (2018), p. 218|
|↑25||“Polo del ‘900: doubling visitors, 48 thousand in 2022,” Ansa.it, Dec. 30, 2022.|
|↑26||The Polo has been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Canopy Platform, which brings together the world’s most innovative experiences in integrating heritage conservation with sustainable development.|
|↑27||The concept was proposed by Braunstein in reference to the protagonists of the movements of the 1960s, see P. Braunstein, “Possessive Memory and the Sixties Generation,” Ácoma. International Journal of North American Studies, VI, 15 (1999), pp. 70-75.|
|↑28||For this concept, see J. Mussell, Doing and making. History as digital practice, in T. Weller (ed.), History in the Digital Age, Routledge, London and New York 2013, p. 80.|
|↑29||For a partisan critique of the use of archives by cultural foundations, see A. Benassi (ed.), “Foundation Archives are Seen Only by Insiders. Interview with Gianni Minà,” gramsciforthehumanities.org, Dec. 15, 2022.|
|↑30||On the same genre, we can mention the English experience of the Labour History Archive & Study Centre, linked to the People’s History Museum in Manchester. The institute collects evidence relating to the political and social history of the United Kingdom; as far as the archival part is concerned, among others, the Labor Party Archive, the Communist Party of Great Britain Archive, a large collection of materials related to Chartism, etc.|
|↑31||R. Rosenzweig, D. J. Cohen, Collecting history online, in R. Rosenzweig, Clio Wired cit., p. 151.|
|↑32||For an interesting example in this sense, see the case of Aspi – Historical Archives of Italian Psychology, to which we referred in the second episode.|