The world's image (imago mundi) created during the Middle Ages and Renaissance represents a fruitful, complex and interesting research field for studying the Ecumene history of knowledge, the identity of peoples and nations and the development of modern geographical thought. If analysed as a whole, the period of the Middle Ages and Renaissance reveals a heterogeneous literary production, a rich set of works and excursus focused on describing countries, lands, and cities. These works belong to different literary genres: universal descriptions, relationships and travel diaries, itineraries, chorographic and topographical treatises.
The research project "I.M.A.G.O. (Index Medii Aevi Geographiae Operum). Web portal and critical editions of medieval and humanistic Latin geographic works (6th-15th centuries)" was born in a context of multidisciplinary study and based on shared experiences in the fields of medieval literature and philology and Digital Humanities. The idea is to involve and connect the best resources and skills in these areas to create new tools useful for the scientific community. In particular, the project's target users are scholars interested in medieval and Renaissance geographical literature.
The project aims to provide a complete survey of medieval and Renaissance geographic works; to classify authors, genres and contents; to collect the manuscript tradition, the editions and the bibliography of each work; to provide critical editions of some of the most representative works; to create an index of toponyms.
The project has concrete applications not only in the fields of medieval philology and digital philology but also in the geographical and historical sciences. Indeed, the Web portal and the Knowledge Base (KB) on which it is built aim to become fundamental tools for the progress of studies on medieval and humanistic geography.
The project exploits the Semantic Web technologies to create a CRM-based ontology for the representation of the collected knowledge. The ontology is populated by scholars through a semi-automatic tool, and the data are collected in a KB and published on the Web as Linked Open Data. The Web application allows users to query the KB and visualise the data in a user friendly and intuitive way, e.g. charts, maps and tables.
“Frater Maurus S. Michaelis Moranensis de Venetiis ordinis camaldulensis cosmographus incomparabilis”