The assets that make up the historical scientific heritage of the Italian seismological archives contribute to telling the history of the evolution of scientific thinking in our country. As seismology cannot reproduce the experiments observed in the laboratory, the seismic recordings take on an irreplaceable scientific value in the study of the seismic events.  Hence, it is necessary as well as dutiful to preserve documents and seismograms of particular historical, cultural and above all scientific interest for the future generations.

The census of the seismological material, particularly the seismograms, existing in the Italian archives, is the first fundamentally important operation performed.
This allows, above all for the historical collections, to safeguard precious original documents thereby avoiding dispersion and often their further deterioration.

The first operation when we enter an archive is to define the characteristics of the collection both in  chronological terms (more or less ancient) and in instrumental terms.  These are important elements for understanding which sources need to be referred to in the subsequent cataloguing phase (bulletins, station notebooks, articles in scientific reviews, etc.). 
Often, before dealing with the cataloguing, it is necessary to undertake an initial survey of the collections in order to set the priorities and the most suitable methods of intervention for the restoration.
The subsequent phase of cataloguing represents an important study and research operation by means of which the data and the information collected on each individual seismogram are arranged into a coherent and homogeneous system that allows easy access and use of seismological data, even in large quantities  (more than 50,000  seismograms catalogued each year).
Specific cataloguing software allows us to create a database in which the information relating to the seismograms is associated to the digital images. And so it is possible to query a substantial amount of data easily with different criteria according to the needs of whoever is doing the research.  

The cataloging charts are structured in such a way that the information is inserted in compulsory fields.
For the station:
- station logo
- name
- date when functioning began
- latitude and longitude
- any notes

For the instrument:
- logo of the instrument
- name
- recording station
- date when functioning began
- components
- instrumental characteristics
- speed of paper movement
- type of paper recording medium 

For the seismograms:
- station logo and name
- date of the seismogram
- recording start and end time
- any corrections to the clock
- recording instrument
- components
- paper medium
- possessor of the recordings
- any notes
- progressive code    
- placement

Increasingly detailed information on the history of the inventoried seismogram can always be added or modified as we proceed with the bibliographic search.
Lastly, all of the recordings of historical and scientific interest, prior to being transferred to the scanning laboratory to be reproduced in image format, are, by means of the addition of the data in a database, cconnected to a label consisting of a bar code.
The final phase of the cataloguing and conservation task is that of repositioning the collections in the archives of origin where the conditions of storage and conservation are suitable, otherwise they are transferred, in conditions of controlled humidity, to the archive of the INGV's Gibilmanna Observatory
Before the transfer, by means of dedicated software, the seismograms are arranged and associated in special box  to which a  position  is given inside the Gibilmanna archive. Each box is indentified by a bar code and a label containing information on the recording station, the time range of the seismograms contained in it and its position inside the archive. 


Donatella Famà (person in charge from 2008)

Sandro Franceschelli

Emanuele Frocione

go to the scanning laboratory sector

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