Galileo

(Italiano / English)
 

With its 347 handwritten files, the Galileo collection of the National Central Library of Florence represents one of the most important documentary funds for the history of science between the XVII and the XVIII century. It gathers almost all Galileo's autographs which have been so far identified, together with a grat number of related documents, information and writings. The Galileo collection enables the reconstruction of the history both of his carrier as a scientist and his private life.

The Galileo collection includes the manuscripts of Galileo's pupils (Castelli, Cavalieri, Torricelli, Viviani), their letters and their correspondence with the most important scientists all over the Europe, like Mersenne, Gassendi, Stenone, Peirec. And finally, the Galileo collection includes manuscripts and journals of the Cimento Academy.

The Galileo project, implemented by the National Central Library of Florence in collaboration with the Institue and Museum of History of Science in Florence and the Max Planck Institut in Berlin, intends to develop a model of information system applied to an important collection of manuscripts.

The pilot project has been carried out on a meaningful sample of manuscripts for different categories of documents which are included in the collection (Galileo's autographs, journals and documents of the Cimento Academy, taking into account both printed and not printed parts, drawings, letters, etc.).

The starting point was the conservation of the manuscripts kept in the temporary form of loose sheets, in order to enable high quality microfilming. These images, which have been subsequently digitallised, allow to substitute the consultation of the originals, with obvious advantages for their future conservation.

Moreover, 270 manuscripts have been recorded by using a structure which allows a complete description of the document, in such a way that every single record fieldenables a direct a direct link with its related image (15.000 images are already available). In this way, the user can access directly not only the whole document, but also single parts, on the basis of his immediate searching needs.

Also being implemented is the transcription of the papers of the manuscripts of the Cimento Academy, which are not included in the national publication of the Galileo manuscripts edited by Mr. Favaro. This transcription will be made available in digitalised form, too.

As a whole, the information structure includes, apart from the presentation of bibliographical records, the possibility of using a series of guides, indexes and a thesaurus, as well as the possibility of researching through bibliographic, biographic indexing and iconographic files.

The ultimate objective of the project is to create a bibliogrphic as well as image data base of the Galileo collection within the National Central Library of Florence. At the same time, this experience is exemplaryfor processing rather complex collections of manuscripts, which may be immediately available on the Internet.