In 2016, in the Presentation of a small booklet in which we published nine unpublished scrolls from a private collection, we mentioned that the enterprise had been made possible thanks to the “happy convergence of interests of a private collector, two researchers, and a bookseller-bookbinder.” And we conclude by expressing the wish that the work done would serve, in the future, as motivation and inspiration for similar initiatives. In this sense, it is with justified satisfaction that we note that the model on which the edition was based and, above all, the fundamental idea that underlies it, have not only remained up-to-date, but have also matured and become the foundations on which the project we are now starting is based.
Let’s start by specifying this idea, which, in this specific case, is fully identified with the project’s objectives. In other words: with this online publication, we hope to create a space that will house all the separate documents dated up to 1900 from private collections and funds, regardless of their diplomatic or thematic nature. All these documents will have a rigorous paleographic edition always accompanied by the reproduction of the original diplomas.
We are, therefore, facing the creation of a comprehensive archive/platform, which is both virtual and, we dare say, unexpected, insofar as only the modern and sophisticated electronic means available to us allow the association of documentation that, under the current circumstances of ownership and preservation, remain separate and unrelated.
As a result, this project is, simultaneously, a bridge and an invitation to society in general and, in particular, to those individuals and families who, for the most diverse reasons, are today the owners and custodians of significant documentary collections and who, for this circumstance, cannot help but also assume their roles as heritage agents with specific responsibilities. Bridge and invitation, we need, to collaborate with scientific research and dissemination.
Finally, of course, the publication of documents with technical and scientific criteria will make accessible to researchers and the merely curious a body of legislation that is not, and should not be, open to public consultation.