The co-financed (COFIN) national project Studies and Research for a Historical Dictionary of the Italian Cartographers coordinated by Ilaria Luzzana Caraci of the University of Roma Tre, was founded in 2003 and structured in fourteen local research units across Italy. An ambitious work program more than onehundredfifty participants and many other collaborators to produce extensive research on all Italian characters (or on people who have been working for a long time in the country) who had been involved in the production of geographical maps.
This would have achieved an idea born a few years earlier to intercept the research needs felt by many, and aimed to fill a knowledge gap mainly for the “minor” characters who had received less attention from scientists, but seemed to be fundamental to rebuild a fuller and more definite picture of the history of the Italian cartography, but not only.
In addition to a large series of publications of the individual local units (more than 60 books, collective volumes, essays, articles, etc.), the great amount of material has long been waiting to find a publisher.
At the beginning of the COFIN work, CISGE organized the meeting DISCI Project. Issues and problems with the mapping of Italian cartographers (23-25 March 2004), in collaboration with the Italian Geographical Society. The meeting included a panel discussion and a two-day training course and updating, to provide young scholars and researchers involved in the project the theoretical and practical bases on which to continue the work. The monographic number of the magazine «Geostorie Bollettino e Notiziario del Centro Italiano per gli Studi Storico-Geografici» [XII (2004), n. 2-3, Annalisa D’Ascenzo ed. ] collects the materials of the training and updating course.
Today the portal Digital DISCI (ISBN 978-88-941810-6-7), specially designed and implemented by lecturers of the Roma Tre University at Laboratorio geocartografico “Giuseppe Caraci” of the Studi Umanistici Departement, in collaboration with the Italian Center for Historical-Geographical Studies (Centro Italiano per gli Studi Storico-Geografici, CISGE), makes available the results of the DISCI project. Digital DISCI is a digital open source collection, open to the consultation of bio-bibliographic records previously produced (which are now all equipped with ISBN), recently made entries and also to the contribution of those who want to provide new information on one of the almost 1.000 already fully censed characters. Alternatively, users can create a new record for one of the almost 6.000 Italian cartographers known only by name and/or with limited data or until now unknown.
The Digital DISCI project aims at is to stimulate a research on cartographers and cartography in Europe, and in the world. We want to support a collaboration between national research centers about the circulation of men, techniques and cartographic knowledge in a research environment about the representations of the territory and the world.