History of the Project

The prehistory of the Oregon Petrarch Open Book (or OPOB) started in connection with two courses on Petrarch's Canzoniere that Massimo Lollini taught in 2003 and 2004 at the University of Oregon. At that time he created a rudimentary web site to coordinate the different initiatives related to teaching Petrarch and Petrarchism at the University of Oregon. These initiatives included a team-taught course focused on Petrarch, Petrarchism, and the poetry written in Petrarch's style in different periods in the major European languages. The course included guest lecturers from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, SUNY Albany and Yale University.

In 2007-8 Lollini received an Instructional Technology Resident Fellowship and a Northwest Academic Computing Consortium grant to improve the quality of the website and to enhance its use. He started working with Jeff Magoto (Director of the University of Oregon's Yamada Language Center) and Norman Kerr (Web Developer) on the first stages of the creation of a database of Petrarch’s poems. The collaboration between Lollini, Magoto, and Kerr led to the conception of the “Oregon Petrarch Open Book” as an ongoing web-based system devoted to the study and teaching of Petrarch’s Canzoniere.

In 2010 the project received a Level II Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant. This grant enabled collaboration with a new web designer, Travis Shea, and the Knight Library, making possible the addition and visualization of new versions of Petrarch’s Canzoniere (from the the diplomatic edition prepared by Ettore Modigliani in 1904 to the critical edition prepared by Professor Giuseppe Savoca); and the implementation, still in progress, of a much-needed comprehensive database system for musical adaptations of Petrarch’s Canzoniere, which exceeds all currently existing archives in scope and contents. During the tenure of this grant we were also able to enhance the functionality of the existing database software and of specific tools, such as "Compare poems and assets," by providing multiple moveable windows of selectable content, text, images, audio, and video. Finally, the 2010 grant made possible the publication of Humanist Studies & the Digital Age, an online peer-reviewed open access journal to coordinate all the scholars and students involved in our project and to disseminate and preserve the resources that we are making available in our site. Also, the journal offers timely contributions to the ongoing debate on the future of humanism in the digital age. The University of Oregon Knight Library is currently experimenting with the “Open Journal System” developed by the Public Knowledge Project at Simon Fraser University, and provided that system as the initial publishing and editorial management system for the journal.

Having built a solid infrastructure and productive collaborative ties with local (UO Knight library), national (Brown University VHL) and international (University of Bologna, Italy; Queriniana Library in Brescia, Italy) the OPOB decided to pursue and further collaborative exchange and interoperability implementing TEI/XML encoding in key digital assets of the OPOB. In 2012 we received an ACLS Digital innovation grant for the collaborative project “Petrarch’s Early Manuscripts and Incunabula in the Oregon Petrarch Open Book” an open source, open access initiative designed for students, scholars, teachers, and translators to read and investigate selected manuscripts and early printed editions of Petrarch’s masterpiece that have been instrumental to its interpretation from its first release in 1362 until today. Working from transcriptions generated through TPEN – a web-based tool for working with images of manuscripts developed at St. Louis University,– the collaborators of the project are presently transcribing and encoding in TEI P5 three key interpretative copies of Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Latin original title of the Canzoniere): 1) the late 14th-century manuscript copy from the Queriniana Library in Brescia, D II 21; 2) the Queriniana Library’s copy of the first printed edition (editio princeps) of the Rvf published by Vindelin de Speier (Spira) in Venice in 1470; 3) Alessandro Vellutello’s 1525 re-editing of the Rvf, which helped to foster the birth of French Petrarchism. 

The institutional home and "publisher" of the OPOB is the University of Oregon. This is an academic site with no commercial purpose. There is and will be no fee for the use of the OPOB on the Internet.

For a more theoretical history of the project see LOLLINI, MASSIMO. Return to Philology and Hypertext in and around Petrarch’s Rvf. Humanist Studies & the Digital Age, North America, 1, dec. 2010. Available at: <http://journals.library.oregonstate.edu/hsda/article/view/1101>. Date accessed: 14 Sep. 2011.

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