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Ordering the archive in early modern Venice (1400-1650)

de Vivo, Filippo (2010) Ordering the archive in early modern Venice (1400-1650). Archival Science , ISSN 1389-0166.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10502-010-9122-1

Abstract

The Republic of Venice was renowned for gathering and preserving from very early on a huge and growing archive. This article analyses the ways in which records were created, stored, and ordered for both immediate and future use. The political system of Venice, at once aristocratic and republican, had an important impact on the production and preservation of large quantities of documents in unbound filze and bound registri. In turn, the volume of this paperwork required the development of strict criteria for the organization of the material. In particular, this article analyses how records were divided at the moment of production, thus enabling a pragmatic combination of chronological and thematic ordering criteria. The latter were reinforced by finding tools arranged by subject matter, in particular indexes inside each volume and more general indexes across several volumes, both known as rubriche. The article suggests that indexing must be seen as a historical process dependent on Venice’s political structures and tied to specific moments in the wider history of the Republic, respectively in the fifteenth, early sixteenth, and early seventeenth centuries. Finally, the article points to some unexpected interactions between political secrecy and indexing.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Republic of Venice, archives, bureaucracy, indexes and indexing, political secrecy
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2010 15:47
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:19
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2776

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