ARCHiVe for Fonti 4.0

Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
plus MAY, 01 2020

Set up in the University of Padua Centre for Computational Sonology (CSC), the Fonti 4.0 project has been funded with resources from the Regional Operational Programme and co-financed with the Veneto Region European Social Fund 2014-2020. The partners in the project are the Fondazione Cini, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Digital Humanities Laboratory and Mind@ware srl.

The aim is to create innovative tools for the analysis, use and development of historic sound documents. Many public and private organisations in the Veneto hold this type of material which, due to technological obsolescence and the deterioration of supports, is in danger of not being properly preserved or even handed down to new generations. Listening to or studying hours and hours of recordings, however, is certainly not sustainable in terms of the time involved. Consequently, Fonti 4.0 aims to automate the various operational phases of analysis and search through artificial intelligence algorithms, combining technological skills with the necessary humanistic knowledge, given the highly interdisciplinary nature of the numerous archives scattered throughout the region.

The rich heritage of testimonies and oral sources preserved by the Fondazione Cini (about a thousand tape reels and audio cassettes) documents the presence in Venice of numerous visiting leading figures from the worlds of Italian and international culture and politics. For the specific objectives of the current project, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini has made available four tape reels of a conference held on San Giorgio in 1959, entitled Cinema and Civilisation.


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The collaboration between the Padua Centre for Computational Sonology and ARCHiVe

In 2019, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini ARCHiVe Centre asked the CSC to set up the first laboratory for the digitisation of magnetic tapes in the premises of the ARCHiVe Centre on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

The collaboration between the two organisations has also made it possible to organise a specific training course on magnetic tapes (preservation, digitisation and description) for Fondazione Cini staff taught by the CSC. Moreover, in 2020, the CSC took part in AOA – ARCHiVe Online Academy, with a course entirely devoted to the Preservation of historic sound documents.