Discarded and reused documents

Documenti scartati = screenprint program (detail), Università di BolognaLive, hybrid or only online, scholarly events are being organized in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Bologna a hybrid two-day conference will be held on December 2-3, 2021 around the theme Documenti scartati, documenti reimpegiati. Forme, linguaggi, metodi per nuove prospettive di ricerca [Discarded documents, reused documents. Forms, languages, methods for new research perspectives]. The program of this conference (PDF, 4,8 MB) merits your attention when you are involved in the study of fragments.

The first day of the conference organized by the Dipartimento di Filologia Classica e Italianistica of the Università di Bologna will be devoted to papers concerning documents in Latin from Northern Italy. Themes range from fragments of documents in libraries at Trento used to reinforce book bindings (Adriana Paolini) to fragments of legal documents concerning the region controlled by the Este family (Cristina Solidoro) to a palimpsest manuscript at the Archivio Capitolare di Vercelli (Giacomo Vignodelli) and the reuse of discarded notarial registers in Northern Italy (Marta Mangini).

On the second day you can expect contributions dealing for example with documents from Central and Southern Italy. Simone Allegri will discuss the place of reused documents in the documentary production of the Apostolic Penitentiary. Corinna Drago will look at reused documents in Apulia. The covers of notarial registers made from discarded documents in Salerno are the subject to be presented by Giuliana Capriolo.

The second section on Friday December 3, 2021 will touch other languages. Maura Perani, the creator of many catalogues of Hebrew fragments in Italian archives, will present a typology of reused Hebrew documents from the late fourteenth to the sixteenth century. Giuseppe di Gregorio will discuss fragments in the Byzantine empire. The way Ethiopian documents were reused will be addressed by Alessandro Bausi (Hamburg). The transmission and use of Slavic documents in the Adriatic region is the subject of a paper by Barbara Lomagistro.

The last section concerns uses of digital humanities for studying fragments. Christoph Flüeler (Fribourg) will discuss the problems of design, terminology and searchability for the fragments at the Fragmentarium portal. Francesco Tomasi will look at the phenomenon of documents as vehicles for transmitting knowledge. Fragments of archival records in the holdings of the Archivio Arcivescovile in Bologna and the use of digitization for creating and adding metadata are the theme in the final contribution by Roberta Napoletano. The concluding round table has as its central theme introduced by Maddalena Modesti the relation between traditional ways of looking at reused documents as just parts of shipwrecks on one side, and the impact and benefits of digital knowledge to study such fragments and give them new relevance for scholarly research. I admit I expanded here the very concise description of the theme for the final session to an extent that would be most interesting to discuss. If this makes you curious to attend the conference, do contact the organizing committee (Roberta Napoletano, Cristina Solidoro, and Annafelicia Zuffrano). They will provide also online access to this interesting scholarly event which will be certainly not limited to themes touching medieval Italy.