History and Characteristics of the SIASFi Project         Computerized database of Italian archives  
The SIASFi Project for an online guide to the fonds of the Florence State Archives stems from a previous initiative of computerized archival description launched and supported during the 1990s by the Italian Archives Administration, namely the project for a computerized database of Italian archives entitled Anagrafe informatizzata degli archivi italiani. After an initial phase involving archives under the jurisdiction of certain Sovrintendenze archivistiche or archival supervision agencies and financed under the terms of law 84/90, the project was continued and expanded to include a number of state archives on the basis of law 145/92. Its goal was to set up a central database at the Ministry of National Heritage (Ministero per beni culturali e ambientali) through large-scale computerized description of national archival holdings with a view to the protection and initial surveying of the records held under the control of the Sovrintendenze archivistiche or in the state archives involved. Within the framework of this project, an initial database was set up at the Florence State Archives between 1995 and 1997 compiled by means of the GUPTA program using an SQL-Windows engine.
 
      The SIASFi Project, phase 1

A research agreement signed in 1998 between the Florence State Archives and the Centro di Ricerche Informatiche per i Beni Culturali of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa launched a project to transfer the Anagrafe database to a new software environment based on a model for the representation of the archival situation more in line with the ISAD (G) and ISAAR (CPF) international standards of description. Completed during the year 2000, this project was divided into two successive stages. In the first, the data recorded within the framework of the Anagrafe degli Archivi di Stato project were transferred to a new conceptual architecture and a provisional software environment constituted by the Arianna program for archival description. The second involved the creation of a new application using DBMS Oracle 8.1.6, on a Windows NT platform, the migration of the Anagrafe data, and the inclusion within the same environment of a database of finding aids . both historical and still in use . created by the Florence State Archives independently of the Anagrafe project. After migration into the new application, the data involved were subjected to revision with a view both to inserting the information into the specific fields defined in the new system but not present in the Anagrafe system and to updating and integrating the database as a whole.
 
      SIASFi Project, phase 2


Further reflection on the processing, distribution and organization of archival information and the characteristics demanded of a system in order to meet the requirements of archival description led to a further phase of conceptual analysis and an overhauling of the structure of the new database (the SIASFi) for the primary purpose of making the information contained therein accessible online. The result was a new Oracle application based entirely on Web technologies (including the data input stage). The introduction of this new application and the associated migration of data were accompanied by development of the first version of the Web interface for database access as a wholly digital system conceived from the very outset with a view to online publication and consultation.
 
For an overview of the project and its history, see Descrizioni archivistiche sul web: la guida on-line dell'Archivio di Stato di Firenze,Daniela Bondielli and Stefano Vitali, October 2001 (file pdf)