FISQED is working on creating a cumulative national catalogue of historical reserves of notebooks and written production (albums, drawings, diaries, etc.) coordinated by a national observatory set up at INDIRE. This national project, already geared up to expand into an international dimension, brings out and valorises a documentary legacy of exceptional scientific interest through the examination of reserves, the setting up of a documentary network and the gradual development of a catalogue that can be accessed online.
The national documentary network
The FISQED national documentary network was born after a national census of historical reserves of notebooks and written production in Italy, promoted by INDIRE in June 2004.
The fascinating data that emerged from this first national census – which was first published in the magazine “Biblioteche Oggi” in October 2004, and a second time in “Annali di storia dell’educazione in Italia” in 2006 – led to the conviction that it was necessary to develop a project to set up a national network of institutes to conserve these reserves, disseminate information on them, and publicise these nationwide experiences as part of a cataloguing of special material, such as school notebooks, whose hybrid nature on the borderline between published material and manuscript caused disparities in approach, as well as a lack of coherence among the information given when they were first described and processed.
The subordinate nature of this material with respect to other kinds, its exceptional character and, last but not least, the difficulty in finding it, had led to a widespread exclusion of ordinary procedures of research, selection and acquisition of such material, resulting in an almost total lack of specific collections inside conservation institutes.
Consequently, this material ended up among antique dealers and in private collections, which led to the collections being split up, denying the possibility of their use by scholars and researchers.
It is precisely because of the above complex series of reasons that it now appears necessary to launch a wider-ranging investigation that will allow constant monitoring of historical collections, setting descriptive standards, implementation of a cataloguing procedure marked by criteria of uniformity, and the subsequent creation of a cumulative national catalogue of notebooks and written production.