• Our research falls within a field that has so far been little investigated, and never in a systematic manner. Therefore, it may open up new research perspectives in literary historiography. For the purpose, we have created an Online archive of Italian dedications (AIDI), which offers scholars, researchers and other people who may be interested in the subject a data base in continuous growth. Documents that are not always easily retrievable are thus collected in an ideal library, and the use of new technologies guarantees immediate access to them.
• The Online Archive of the Italian dedication AIDI provides access to a corpus of dedications in continuous growth. By collecting materials that are dispersed and little known, the Online Archive enables to conduct a broad historical and morphological survey over the genre of the dedication. The Online Archive is conceived to continue to be expanded and integrated also after the termination of the project. A first specimen has been available online since the summer of 2004. Access to AIDI is free, but requires registration.
• Each dedication is accompanied by a photograph of the original edition (together with the cover page and portraits if available), a transcription of the text that can be interrogated electronically, and a short ‘anagraphic' file. Significant information grouped under relevant headings can be searched electronically via research parameters that can be freely combined according to the user's needs: year and place of publication, genre, language and type of the dedication, occasion and date, identity and typology of the dedicator or dedicatee, relationship between the relevant characters, and so on.
• The corpus has been collected according to the following modes and restrictions: besides dedications in Italian, the archive includes dedications in other languages as long as the author of the work (or of the translation) is Italian. In cases of particular cultural relevance dedications by typographers, printers and editors have also been included. Even though literary works predominate, historical and philosophical works, theatrical and musical pieces as well as scientific and critical texts have also been included. Initially, the Online Archive will only include dedications of works published after the invention of print. An index that is being progressively updated offers a precise mapping of the authors and texts that have already been inserted into the database.
• We have so far privileged specimen that are both representative and very different from each other. Our purpose has been to build a model that may include as many typological variants of the genre as possible, depending on the specificities, as well as the chronological and cultural context of the dedicated work.
• AIDI is conceived to be progressively expanded and integrated: suggestions and additions are more than welcome Dedicafn-Italianistica@unibas.ch.