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In February 2015 Dr Laura Carnelos (University of Venice Ca’ Foscari) was awarded a 2-year Marie Curie Individual Fellowship to research at CERL, London office, under the supervision of Cristina Dondi. The project, financed by the European Commission (Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme), involves two further institutions: the British Library (partner organisation), in the person of Dr S. Parkin, for 17 years curator of the Italian Printed Collections (1501-1850) and now Curator, Printed Heritage Collections (1450-1600), and the Istituto Centrale per il catalogo unico delle biblioteche italiane e per le informazioni bibliografiche (ICCU, hosting secondment), in the person of Dr R.M. Servello, the managing director of EDIT16, the National Census of all books printed in Italy between 1501-1600 and of books containing Italian texts printed elsewhere including contemporary or later counterfeits.

The objectives of the PATRIMONiT project are both bibliographical and historical. During the 18-19th centuries, the Italian book patrimony went through a massive dispersal as a consequence of the decline of the local aristocracy and of the suppression of religious libraries. Large quantities of 16th-Century Italian ‘popular’ books – the books read or ‘listened to’ by everyone during the Early Modern Period, printed with poor quality material and having usually a short life expectancy –, found their way to Great Britain to join the British Library. Carnelos will survey all the 16th Italian ‘popular’ books now at the British Library which do not survive in any Italian library and will define new rules for cataloguing them. The new database PATRIMONiT will be modelled on CERL’s Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI), created by Dr Dondi, in order to gather and analyse the physical evidence of 16th-century ‘popular’ books. Their bibliographical data will be also entered in EDIT16 and in the CERL Thesaurus, enhancing the two existing databases. The cataloguing of copy specific records will be further enhanced by the study of archival sources pertaining to these books. This means that the historical circumstances related to their survival and international circulation will be explored in a combination of methodological approaches. Carnelos will work systematically through the British Library’s historical acquisition invoices and Panizzi’s correspondence with booksellers and collectors, antiquarian book catalogues, private diaries and the study of relevant figures such as Adolfo Cesare, the leading 19th-century Venetian bookseller within the export booktrade. Other historical sources (mainly archival documents, manuscript and bibliographic references) will be consulted to reconstruct the historical and historiographical context.

With this two-year project, which includes also a six-month secondment at ICCU in Rome, Carnelos proposes to demonstrate that this ephemeral material, often forgotten in some storage, either completely uncatalogued, or catalogued very inadequately, is really relevant for the reconstruction of the socio-cultural history of a country. Specifically, her aim is to understand when and why ‘popular’ books underwent a change in their perceived value, from books to be used and reused, to books that were considered at once disposable and worthy of collection, and how time and space, politics and cultural policies influenced this change. With this project, she will re-evaluate the concept of ‘ephemeral publication’, creating new guidelines for cataloguing ‘popular’ books and for studying them with attention to their material evidence and using archival sources.

Besides connections to the fields of Library Science and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the PATRIMONiT project is located within a multi- and interdisciplinary network which includes several areas of knowledge, such as the History of the Book, the History of Libraries and of Collecting, Cultural and Social History, and also European and Economic History. Supported by three centres of excellence (CERL, the British Library and ICCU), the PATRIMONiT project combines the more recent developments in three main disciplines (Library Science, History and ICT), to tackle historical questions which cannot be approached and successfully solved individually.

Laura Carnelos

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 collaboration/projects/marie_curie.txt · Last modified: 2015/05/13 17:04 by hart

 

 

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