One of an archive curator’s duties is that of keeping intact the documentation entrusted to him, while making it also available for consultation: two incompatible aspects, given that constant access represents a risk to the very survival of the documents themselves.
In response to this problem, upon its relocation to the completely restored and renovated Palazzo Ducale, the Civic Historical Archive was equipped with a state-of-the-art system which allowed wider access to the documents of the Padri del Comune (the City Fathers, the oldest and most valuable collection), without risking their integrity.
The software used in the first version, created by Elsag Bailey of Genoa and marketed under the name Icarus, allowed each document to be converted into an electronic image, which was then preserved on optical disc and linked to a data sheet, which was also used as an index for cataloguing and research. In 1998 the system was updated thanks to the backing of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Genova e Imperia, which funded the purchase of the necessary hardware, and of Elsag, which supplied the new Archea software, based on the same working principles as the previous version but using CD-ROM technology to archive the images.
This is how an electronic archive is formed, from which it is then possible to call up and view the various documents and their corresponding data sheets, on one or more computers, and produce hard copies of documents, that are true to the original. The simplicity of the search makes the system easily accessible for researchers, who can quickly consult any document they wish and print off copies, without the originals suffering any deterioration.