Development of a new Greek bibliography research tool

Development of a new Greek bibliography research tool
Bibliology Workshop "Philippos Iliou" | Benaki Museum

This research workshop on the social history of books and by extension the social history of culture was the brainchild of Philippos Iliou, who called it the “Bibliology Workshop” (Bibliologiko Ergastiri), and set it up as a framework for his many and varied bibliological ambitions in 1986. For a number of years it was maintained as an informal agency at the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive (ELIA), where efforts mainly focused on constructing a 19th century Greek bibliography and an electronic data base of subscribers to Greek books from 1749 to 1922, as well as on publishing underpinning works.

The move to rename the Bibliology Workshop as “Philippos Iliou Bibliology Workshop” was an obvious response to the challenge posed by the death of the workshop's founder (5 March 2004). Those unfinished plans were then felicitously supported by the Benaki Museum, which included them in its programmes, starting in March 2006. In May 2007 all the material gathered was relocated to Museum premises, and then extended to include a significant portion of the personal library of Philippos Iliou, connected to this material (approximately 7,500 volumes), a gift from his family.

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation through its Scientific Associations Programme is funding the development of an electronic database of subscribers, recording for the first time the literate Greek-speaking public across a wide geographic area from 1749 to 1922. This database will illustrate the geographic location and demographics of the reading public, including their profession, sex and clerical or secular status, as well as their reading preferences.

Who, were and what they read, invaluable facts regarding the history of books, the history of literature and the history of education. Covering a period of almost two centuries, this database offers a wealth of information that will be useful to biographical, genealogical and other similar inquiries. The publication of this database will offer multiple benefits to Greek education historians and social scientists focusing on social evolution in the Balkans from the 18th to the 20th century, as well as local historians and those interested in genealogical studies.