In 2003 the Veneto Regional Council set up a project to catalog all manuscript holdings in libraries in the Veneto region, in order to provide a freely accessible, uniform online open catalog (1) via shared cataloguing standards. The implementation of this project entailed coordinating its scientific and organizational aspects, as well as checking and revising the catalog descriptions. The Biblioteca del Museo Correr was in charge of coordinating the project, which had previously set up a cataloging project of its manuscript holdings in 2001, starting with its oldest holding, the Teodoro Correr collection. The coordinating team, composed of Paolo Eleuteri, Barbara Vanin and Francesco Bernardi, and later also Alessia Giachery, initially created a catalog data sheet model, which features a brief description that is suitable for the mainly modern material present in the libraries (2). It provides a brief codicological description and a more detailed description of the manuscripts contents. At the same time Guidelines for cataloging manuscripts (3) were set out, which provided the framework in terms of cataloging for the MANUS software system developed by the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle biblioteche italiane. Together with the Veneto Regional Council an initial group of libraries of various typologies were selected, which completely lacked catalogs or adequate tools to access their manuscript holdings. They were asked to present targeted cataloging projects.
In the first year of the project (October 2003 - December 2004) cataloging was undertaken using the MANUS system, with the aim of sending the data to the ICCU, which would publish the information in its catalog, accessible at www.nuovabibliotecamanoscritta.it provides access to the catalog of manuscripts from the libraries taking part in the project (4), gives the reader information about the project itself, the technology used and the libraries. Furthermore, catalogers and administrators are provided with a login and password, to access the software for the cataloging of manuscripts via the Web. The NBM uses a browser via the Internet to upload the catalog records and enables several libraries to share cataloging by working on the same database. Indeed, all catalogers share data relating to name and title headings, and bibliography. This solution facilitates the retrieval of previously compiled information, and above all enables revisers to modify information, in the spirit of an open catalog that can be constantly improved upon.
The software, developed by Idoru s.r.l. in Padua, consists of a data input module solely for catalogrs and a consultation module for the public. The NBM comprises a relational-type database and Web application, and the server-side application is installed on the Unix platform, whereas client application is accessible via a simple Web browser on each platform. The NBM software system precisely imitates the MANUS system for several reasons: the exhaustive information following the guidelines laid down by the ICCU (5), integrated by the MANUS system, the need to transfer all descriptions previously compiled on the MANUS system to the NBM, and last but not least the need to continue sending data to the ICCU, exporting it from the NBM. This is another reason why the Veneto Regional Council cooperated with the ICCU, monitoring the updates and technical and scientific development of the MANUS system.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Shared Resources: Information sharing among catalogers (lists of: name of person, corporate body and location, title heading, subject, collection, ancient libraries, bibliography)
Nuova Biblioteca Manoscritta: Project title. The Nuova Biblioteca Manoscritta is the online catalog which has been produced as part of a project to catalog the manuscripts conserved in libraries in the Veneto region, as well as the name of the software system developed to describe these manuscripts.
Online Cataloging: Manuscript cataloging via the Web.
Libraries: Twenty-five libraries have taken part in the project.
Online Management: Work of revision and publication managed via the Web
Open Catalog: Permits real-time constant catalog update
Veneto Region: Geographical area in which project members are working (Venezia, Padova, Treviso, Rovigo, Belluno, Verona, Vicenza, Vittorio Veneto, Basano del Grappa, Monselice, Este, Feltre).
Manuscripts: Cataloging of medieval and modern manuscripts housed in libraries in the Veneto region.
Opac Search: Database search tool, via simple search (by word using Boolean operator) or advanced (by combining terms from different fields)