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The manuscript Ms. Gal. 72), kept in the Archivesof the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence, is a manuscript which has atremendous importance for the study of the transition from Aristotelian toclassical physics. In spite of its importance, this manuscript has neither beentranslated in full, nor even been adequately published until today. It is in factvirtually impossible to publish the chaotic mixture of texts, calculations anddrawings on the pages of this manuscript using traditional editorial techniques.
The masterful National Edition of Galileo's Papers by
Around the end of the eighties, the technological development suggestednew ways of realizing such an edition. In view of these new possibilities,traditional editorial projects appeared more and more to be inefficient andobsolete. The history of science program of the American National ScienceFoundation, then directed by Ron Overmann, therefore systematically encouragedtraditional editorial projects, such as the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein,to explore the usage of electronic forms of the representation of historicaldocuments. At the same time Peter Damerow in Berlin (then Max Planck Institutefor Human Development and Education, now Max Planck Institute for the History ofScience) and Paolo Galluzzi in Florence (Institute and Museum for the History ofScience) had embarked on similar paths, employing electronic tools in researchprojects of the history of science. They joined forces with Jürgen Renn anddesigned the "Galileo Einstein Electronic Archives Project," whose exploratoryphase was funded by the National Science Foundation. But due to copy rightproblems with the Einstein part of the project, only the Galileo part could bepursued further, in close cooperation with the manuscript department of theBiblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence represented by Isabella Truci.
The electronic representation of the manuscript Ms. Gal. 72, as it is nowavailable, is a pilot project realized jointly by the Biblioteca NazionaleCentrale in Florence, the Institute and Museum for the History of Science inFlorence, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Itis part of a larger endeavor by the Biblioteca Nazionale and the Institute andMuseum for the History of Science to make the Florentine Galileo collectionelectronically accessible. The Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence providedthe digital images of the manuscript, gave the permission for their inclusion inthe electronic representation, and contributed in many other ways to therealization of the pilot project. A working group at the Max Planck Institute forthe History of Science created the electronic working environment in which theelectronic representation of the codex is embedded. The aim was not only toprovide easy access to the codex but also to support further research on it. Thescholarly work on the codex that is included as part of the electronicrepresentation (transcriptions, translations, internal cross-references,references to the literature, classification of folio pages, etc.) was performedby a common working group of the Museo di Storia della Scienza and the Max PlanckInstitute for the History of Science. (For more information, see the
In the eyes of the editors, there are two elements whichcharacterize the electronic representation of a manuscript as it is herepresented: easy access and open-endedness. The editors hope in fact that thefurther development of this electronic representation will be a truly jointresult achieved together with those colleagues with whom, up until now,collaboration has been limited to publications in the same journals or incollections of essays dedicated to Galileo.