Electronic retrospective conversion
of the Sacconi Catalogue

(Italiano / English)


The Sacconi catalogue was compiled in the second half of XIX century by Torello Sacconi, librarian and, for some years, Interim Director of the National Central Library of Florence. It is structured in 21 topics, according to a tipically XIX century classification scheme. It consists of more than 200,000 catalogue cards, the majority of which is handwritten. The catalogue is accessed by the means of a systematic Index, with ca 6,000 subdivisions. Each of them has a number, which allows to identify the related card.

In 1892, Sacconi gave the Catalogue to the Marucelliana Library, where it was continued for several years before it came back to the National Central Library. For many years it has been neglected and excluded from public use. Fortunately, there are only a few cards missing and the catalogue has kept its original structure.

Recently the National Central Library of Florence realised a conversion of the Sacconi catalogue using an image scanning technique. The aim was to preserve and to add more value to one of the historical catalogue of the Library. In this way a less known but useful bibliographical tool is provided.

The major feature of this catalogue, which also motivated its electronic retroconversion, is the richness of the contained information. Many bibliographical records are available, which are structured by subject and are related to the period XVI-XIX century. The importance of the catalogue lays in the fact that the National Central Library of Florence has no subject catalogue available for its antiquarian collections (the subject catalogue started only in 1926).

In retrieving the digitalised image, the project has respected the structure of the old catalogue. It is conform to the same arrangement of the original cards. The revision work has been limited to slight checks intending to give internal coherence to the catalogue. The only major intervention has been to arrange the cards in alphabetical order within the single subdivisions.

All cards have been scanned through optical techniques, whereas the systematic Index has been keyboarded as a text in electronic form and it is now the basis for consultation and navigation within the catalogue. The hierarchical structure, created by Sacconi, has been transformed in the electronic organisation of the text, with the possibility of expanding and collapsing it, or to check it with ad hoc queries. The maximal expansion is the display of the complete Index. Key words queries are possible with direct link to the card display in sequential order. A "help" tool is always available.