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Bassi Veratti Digital Collection Website Launches

 

We’re pleased to share the news of today’s official release of the Bassi Veratti digital collection website. A video highlighting the historical import of the project and resulting site can be viewed on youtube . A version with narration in Italian is also available via youtube.

The digital Bassi Veratti Collection was first conceived in 2010 through discussion between the Stanford University Libraries, the Biblioteca comunale dell’Archiginnasio di Bologna (Archiginnasio) and the Istituto per i Beni Artistici, Culturali e Naturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna (IBC) along with Stanford Professor of History, Paula Findlen. Its development was truly an international collaboration, with the Archiginnasio providing the archive itself, its inventory and expertise about the collection’s contents, history, and arrangement, and Stanford librarians, digital technology specialists and web application designers and engineers transforming the inventory into a digital finding aid, managing the digitization work from afar, and conceptualizing and creating the bilingual discovery and delivery interface. The IBC provided regular support for the initiative, thanks to considerable experience gained through international projects.

In the eighteenth century, Laura Bassi was a scientist, professor at the University of Bologna, and member of the Bologna Academy of Sciences. Among the very first female professional scholars, her life (1711 - 1778) and work can tell us much about the personal and professional lives of early women scientists, their place in Enlightenment intellectual networks, as well as the spread of Newtonian physics in the Italian peninsula. Stanford history professor Paula Findlen is currently completing a scholarly biography on Laura Bassi.

The Bassi Veratti Collection website features high-resolution digital images of the complete contents of the Bassi e famiglia Veratti Archive presented in a robust discovery and delivery environment. This remarkable project managed by the Digital Library Systems and Services department (DLSS) is notable for the extent of cooperation with colleagues in Bologna. A fully bilingual website, it showcases the fresh approach taken by DLSS engineers to use existing open source technologies in exposing this richly-described archival collection to researchers. 672 letters, diplomas, poems, and other documents have been digitized, while the detailed inventory created by Archiginnasio archivists has been transformed into a fully indexed search interface to the collection. These two components have been seamlessly united in an intuitive and well designed scholarly website.  For a full description of the technologies in use throughout the project and on the website, please refer to the technical summary on the site.

To celebrate the culmination of this important collaboration and the launch of the website, and to shine a spotlight on this remarkable woman on her 300th birthday, “The Papers of Laura Bassi and her Family: The Digitization of the Bassi Veratti Collection” will take place in Bologna on 20-21 March 2013. Findlen and University Librarian Michael Keller will be among the dignitaries and speakers participating.

The project was supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Marini Foundation, and Silicon Valley executive Guerrino de Luca (who serves on the Libraries Advisory Council). The contents of the digital Bassi Veratti archive will be permanently preserved in the Stanford Digital Repository.

 

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