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Digital Acquisition Project - Scientific Iconography

With the birth of the 'modern book' in the 16th century, a process of radical transformation of knowledge began, especially in the field of science. The enormous diffusion of the illustrated scientific book is fundamental testimony of the new approach to the comprehension of physical and natural reality, and the reflection of a new way of seeing the world. The history of scientific reproduction from the 1500s to the end of the 1800s is also the history of the new manner of acquisition and diffusion of the constituent knowledge of the modern world. The rich iconographic heritage of antique holdings owned by the Library of the Istituto e Museo di Storica della Scienza represents an important documentary base for outlining an essential profile of this history.

The project, begun in 1998, is born also from the need to enrich the system of consultation of the IMSS library with information not limited to the traditional bibliographic descriptions. The realization of this service, besides notably facilitating users' iconography research, contributes to limiting direct consultation of the antique texts, assisting in their conservation.

Approximately 15,000 illustrations, relative to ca 1,200 texts within the antique holdings of the Library, are currently consultable.

The project, sustained by the Department of Libraries and Cultural Institutes, is curated by S. Casati and F. Principe, with the collaboration of D. Pozzi and S. Cimmino.


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