by Stella Montanari
Ti Racconto la Storia is a portal, integrated in Italian National archival system (SAN) developed with the financial support of General Directorate of Archives (DGA). Its name is a word game meaning, “I tell you a story” or “history”.
It consists of a digital library hosting audio and video collections of oral history, resulting from research projects carried out by institutions and independent researchers, kept in public and private archives. The collections document several aspects of 20th century Italian social life and history, from the point of view of individuals or communities.
Each collection has its own access policy; users can browse and search the collections also by using specific thesauri. The software bases on a graphical user interface model, previously developed by USC Shoah Foundation, to publish video interviews of Holocaust survivors.
The digital library now hosts collections of interviews with partisans in WW2, Sardinian miners, governmental officers, but also representatives of 1960s – 70s youth movements and their free radio broadcastings, medical staff and patients of psychiatric hospitals, as well as interviews to pupils of the school for hearing impaired people in Rome, with videos in Italian sign- language.
Last but not least, the collection The Archivist’s Memory – Oral sources about working in archives and teaching archival sciences, published in 2022.
Bases on a project, carried out by ANAI – Italian National Archivist’s Associations, the collection consists in 20 interviews to long course professionals in archival institutions, directors of State Archives or university professors. The narration of their life and careers documents the development and evolution in the approach to archival materials, its disclosure and accessibility, the influence of national and cultural politics in the archival field, as well as the changes in studies and training of archival staff.
After the publication of several collections, featuring a bottom up approach to events and social changes occurred during the 20th century, The archivist’s Memory is a sort of meta-collection, dealing with the problems related to preservation, accessibility and creation of historical sources, lively described by makers of this highly relevant process of sedimentation of information sources.
The portals concept also applied to a new portal, still in development, called Ti racconto in Italiano, using the same framework. The project aims at publishing audio video materials owned by Italian Institute for Audio video collections, ICBSA, and consists of an anthology of Italian literature read by well-known actors and 36 interviews to Italian 20th century visual artists, poets, writers, actors, managers and founders of Italian enterprises, describing their life and work.
The collection gives an impressive insight to Italian literature as well as cultural and economic life of 20th century. Enriched by learning tools, developed by International University of Siena, it allows students and non-native speakers to improve their comprehension of Italian language, with its local dialectal inflections, as well as to get in touch with the true voice of poets and writers reading their own work.