Help with your research

What is an archive?

The archive is the place where the memory, personal or collective, public or private, is deposited to be shared, used and finally told. It contains the voices, sounds and images for those who have the curiosity to listen and read.

What can you find in the archive?

  • letters
  • correspondence
  • manuscripts
  • minute
  • logs
  • audiovisual
  • photos
  • digital files

An archive is also the right place to gather information on facts, events and places through the papers of those who have been protagonists of these events or simply lived them. Some archives are produced by the activity of state institutions and public and private bodies, others are generated by people and families who keep their administrative and private documentation.

The archives may contain files that relate to the state in general, or particular local situations, or still dedicated to particular issues such as companies, banks, transport, energy. The archives of person and family include both the papers produced by aristocratic families or however, significant for the national history, both by public figures (politicians, actors, singers, men and women of culture) and those that each of us preserves for necessity or as a souvenir (letters, photographs, memorabilia).

Consciously or not, you probably also you have an archive at home. He could be in a file in your office, in a box in the basement, in a trunk in the attic. They are your personal archives: a collection of material that records important events in the history of your life and your family.

An archive of person or family, state or local:

  • keeps documents as evidence and / or memory of a public and / or private event
  • explains the reasons for a fact, an event
  • can be stored in different places


What can you find on the Portal?

The archives

The Portal, unlike an archive, does not directly preserve the documents but allows access to the main archival information of the funds registered within it that concern scientific research institutions and personal papers of scientists, stored in over 200 conservative institutes throughout the Italian territory .

On the portal you can find information such as:

  • chronological extremes (the dates of the oldest and most recent document)
  • research tools (with which tools it is possible to deepen the knowledge of the materials contained in the fund)
  • access (which are the ways in which it is possible to consult the documents and of course where they are)
  • consistency (how many is the archive)
  • storage conditions (the oldest documents cannot always be consulted directly to prevent them from being fixed)

Of some archives, under "Inventories" you can explore in detail the description of the maps that are stored there.

The stories

Thematic paths and in-depth studies on people and institutions that have made the history of science in Italy, useful for understanding the contribution of the Italian research system both to scientific progress understood as a supranational competitive enterprise, and to the social and economic progress of the country.

The protagonists

Who are they and what have scientists, research institutes, academies and museums done? Find out through the files of the protagonists or the "producer subjects" of the archives, that is the bodies and people who produced, collected and stored their documentation first for practical purposes and then to leave a testimony of what they did during their activity .

The instruments

The Portal provides some tools that allow you to access the archives through a rich chronology you can discover the main events in the history of science and technology Inventories, where present, allow a more in-depth exploration of the archives surveyed. The bibliographic resources accompany the stories, the archives, the protagonists through the most significant works on the archives of science and on science and technology.

Start the search

  • Do you already know which archive you are interested in? Go directly to the map or to the list of archives contained in the Portal
  • Do you want to know which archives of science are in your region? Click on the map
  • Do you have any particular curiosity? Visit the stories and the protagonists
  • Are you interested in a particular historical period? Consult the chronology

Do you want to contribute?

Are you passionate about the Portal and do you think you have something to share with us and with the Portal community? Visit the contribute page and find out how to increase the contents of the Portal.