17 February 2016


The Collecta project runs from June 2014 to June 2016. Focusing on the Gaignières collection, it includes developing a digital archive prototype capable of growing to the size of the collection, and organising a symposium to be held on 7 and 8 April 2016: "Collecta: from antiquarian practices to digital humanities".

The paper-based collection accumulated by the seventeenth century antiquarian François-Roger de Gaignières offers a huge textual and iconographic set of documents consisting of originals and a majority of copies, which tell the story of the nobility and the French monarchy, the history monuments and the history of costume.

Description of the project:

The genius of Gaignières lay in the fact that he planned for the growth of his collection by means of various processes (use of expandable containers, pages left blank etc.), used a system of multiple filing (copies of copies), organised references, used key words, indexes and set up inventories. These devices, which meant the collection was fully exploitable, in many respects augured today’s computer databases with their multi-criteria searches and cross referenced information.
Virtually reconstructing the now dispersed Gaignières collection on the basis of inventories and conserved items by following the clues offered by the classification logic applied by the seventeenth century scholar will bring to light the original scholarly structure and so bring out the wealth of historiographical information it contains.
Given the possibilities offered by information technology, the focus is on: data encryption, the internet, interoperability and the design in order to not only update the collection – without betraying its scholarly structure and its author’s project – but also to design the conditions for its digital existence and its discernible emergence.

Research dynamics:

– Archiving process and indexing rationales for document collections (inventories, references, lists, hyperlinks, etc.) leading to designing the means of access to a historical collection, finding new opportunities through the web and interoperability.
– Forms of the archive, graphical inventions, and modes of existence and display of information.
– Uses, development of a collection, and its both paper and digital future.

Scientific orientation:

The project is led by two researchers from the laboratories of two heSam Université institutions: Anne Ritz-Guilbert (lecturer-researcher at l’École du Louvre) and Sophie Fétro (lecturer in design, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Scientific committee: Philippe Durey, Dominique Jarrassé, Anne Ritz-Guilbert (École du Louvre); Sophie Fétro, Pierre-Damien Huyghe, Alain Schnapp (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Nathan Schlanger (École des Chartes); Claudie Voisenat (EHESS); Michel Pastoureau (EPHE).
Members associated with the project: Pascal Schandel (École du Louvre); Anthony Masure (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).