SISMOS pays particular attention to the recovery, restoration and conservation of historical materials relating to Italian and international seismology with scientific as well as cultural aims. Amongst other things, it catalogues, reproduces and makes available a large amount of complementary documentation.
The data and the information needed to interpret the seismograms are contained in different types of documentation defined as being complementary to the seismic recordings.
The complementary documentation (bulletins, journals and periodicals, registers and station notebooks, letters and scientific correspondence, etc.) constitutes an outstanding and irreplaceable source of information; the perusal of this documentary material indeed provides relevant information for reconstructing the history of the activity of seismological observation both in Italy and aboard.
This documentation is the subject of systematic research, reproduction and cataloguing within the scope of the project; it enriches in a substantially as well as exclusive manner the SISMOS informational technology system.
Journals and Periodicals
From the birth of the first journals of geodynamics until around the 1970s, articles and publications dedicated to observatories, seismic recordings, the instruments and their functioning were frequent.
SISMOS has hitherto reproduced and catalogued (with reference to the instrument, the designer and the constructor), articles on the instruments, the observatories, the scholars and the earthquakes. The unabridged reports of the Italian Seismological Society and the Bulletin of Italian Volcanism have been acquired, along with articles from Nature and Gerland Beitrage zur Geophysik.
Registers and Station Notebooks
This documentary source is the diary, often daily, of the life and the efficiency of the seismic station, its instruments and their functioning. The knowledge of the information that can be inferred from this source (correction of the clock time, instruments constants, etc.) make the related seismograms usable for the purposes of scientific research.
As this concerns unpublished materials, often compiled in small handwritten notebooks whose appearance is hardly official and therefore easily subject to being mislaid, their recovery and reproduction represent a very important operation.
Letters and CorrespondenceThe scientific correspondence holds great interest for the history of science and scientific instrumentation. Such correspondence contains information on the effects of seismic events, the instruments and their placement inside the observatories, reproductions of seismograms, graphs and drawings, scientific comments to theories and to publications, etc.
Since the end of the 19th century hundreds of observatories in the world have started the activity of seismic recording; unfortunately, however, in some cases their archives have been totally or partially destroyed owing to a variety of reasons, both human (wars, state of abandonment, deliberate destruction) and natural (fires, earthquakes, floods). For this reasons the reproduction of the seismograms and the information contained therein, as well as the indications as to the methods for installing the instruments, their characteristics and constants and on their orientation, often contained in the correspondence, is both fundamental and irreplaceable.
Over 25,000 letters have been surveyed, catalogued and nearly 30,000 scanned within the framework of the TROMOS project.
All the above-cited documentation will soon be made available in the new database connected to the SISMOS portal.
Monia Maresci (Person in charge from 2014)