Digitizing handwritten and early-printed fragments form the library of the Franciscan monastery of St. Clara in Kotor

The project includes expert processing, both in traditional and digital form, of documents (fragments of liturgical books, handwritten or early-printed ones, as well as other documents of sacral or profane provenance) stored in the library of the Franciscan monastery of St. Clara in Kotor within the collection of archival material.


Description of the collection of archival material:

•       Quantity: around 200 fragments of liturgical books or individual documents (papal bullas, charters, notary acts, Turkish firmans, literary texts and so on); the existing numbering comprised 167 documents, but there are sub-numbers for minute parts of the same document within the established 12 categories.
•       Timeline: from the 11th to the 18th century.
•       Language: Latin, Italian, Serbo-Croatian, Turkish, German.
•       Script: Medieval scripts (Beneventan, Caroline, Gothic, Humanistic, Baroque epoch handwriting), Arabic (Turkish), German Gothic; there are also fragments of early printing.
•       Material: parchment, paper.


Project objectives:

•       Presentation of the collection of archival material to wider scientific and cultural public by means of its expert processing and appraisal;
•       Popularization of rich cultural past of Montenegro;
•       Pointing out to the value of church funds and to the significance of the opening of church archives and libraries in a professional way and with the application of contemporary technologies, for the needs of science and profession;
•       Protection of the collection as a whole, i.e. prevention of possible alienation of documents or their migration;
•       Restriction of the use of originals for the sake of preventive protection of archival material, in the first place the reduction physical damage;
•       Preparation of Internet presentation of the collection of documents for the purpose of its accessibility to a wider circle of researchers;
•       Attempt of securing financial support for permanent physical, chemical and biological protection of the collection and equipment for adequate accommodation.

Project description:

•       According to its structure the Project is if multidisciplinary type and requires the coordinated work of paleographers, archivists, experts for other auxiliary historical sciences, librarians, bibliographers, historians, literary and art historians, philologists, musicologists, information technology experts, theologians, priests, as well as other religious experts.

•       According to plan, the Project has got seven stages with the envisaged realization time of 15 months. The process of digitizing and processing of more significant documents is ongoing, as well as the preparation for the printing of the book with the expert work of Prof. Dr. Luigi Pellegrini and the works of several other authors on the documents from this significant collection of archival material.

The funds for the Project were provided from the Commission for the allocation of funds to nongovernmental sector with the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro . Total amount received for the realization of this project is € 15.300,00.

Appraisal:

•      The expertise of some paleography experts (from Croatia, USA, Austria, Germany and Italy), to whom the organization «Notar» enabled access to certain fragments, proved with great certainty that this is a valuable collection of archival material which offers the possibility for new significant discoveries in many scientific fields, especially those related to cultural history of the region of central and southern Adriatic.

•       The significant discovery of Prof. Dr. Luigi Pellegrini (University in Chieti , Italy ) on the fragment of the Codex on the life of St. Francis from the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century, preserved in this collection of archival material in Kotor, which is identical to the Codex number 334 stored in Assisi library. This discovery initiates many questions of cultural cooperation between Montenegrin and Italian coast.


Digitizing of material and preparation for uploading to Internet

•      Internet presentation envisages two parts:

1. About 20 most important cultural-historical documents will be presented by the image and description (date, place of origin, type of script, brief summary, type of material, size, ornaments, degree of damage and so on) with the link between the image and description;
2. Survey of documents through a textual part – scientific-information processing of individual documents in the form of brief summary and description of individual documents

Software proposal for presentation and preservation of archival material. Current work includes the selection of software, data format and conservation standards.

Proposal:

Microsoft standard, i.e. ACCESS application software for relational database management, under some of desktop oriented operative systems, with the use of ACCESS extensions for HTML, ASP and/or XML.