Appunti per un'ontologia delle biblioteche digitali: considerazioni sulla Biblioteca digitale italiana

Contenuto principale dell'articolo

Claudio Leombroni


The most important Italian public policies regarding digital libraries are examined. The arguments, more political-institutional than technical, will give extensive emphasis to the project of the Italian Digital Library promoted by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, but with at least equal extensiveness they will also try to explain, on the basis of a confrontation with this project, a sort of ontology of digital libraries. The term ontology is used simply to indicate the specifications of a particular conceptual sphere together with its relative relations and for defining the commitment that language assumes towards that same sphere. Basically it will be sought to enumerate and define a minimum nucleus of objects and concepts included in the dominium of interest the boundary of which is marked by digital libraries, to outline a possible agreement (in ontology it would be defined an ontological commitment) on a vocabulary that is coextensive with that dominium. The commitment to agree on the adoption of a shared vocabulary is after all essential for attempting to outline a vision or at least for imagining a long-term strategy for public policies in this sector.
The IDL ( Italian Digital Library) project (born between the end of 1998 and 1999 within the sphere of the General Management for library heritage, cultural institutions and publishing) and the subsequent scenario of integration of systems designed by the NTC project, apart from a few debatable architectural elements, define a national strategy of the sector. The success of this strategy will depend on the capacity to deal with three orders of problems: 1) share this strategy with all levels of government foreseen by our social order; 2) guarantee the participation of library services and cultural institutes; 3) define a new cooperative environment that is able to make different institutes (archives, libraries, museums and other agencies involved in the digital world), different cultures and languages, cooperate with one another without sacrificing their differences and without sacrificing their overall intelligence, or their ability to manage the whole.

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