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“Emmanouel Kriaras Platform” by the Institute of Modern Greek Studies, with the SNF’s Support

Aug 29, 2017
The Institute of Modern Greek Studies publishes the “Emmanouel Kriaras Platform”, an electronic platform that utilizes the donation of the Library and an important part of the Archive that the leading Greek philologist bequeathed to the Institute in his will.

The Institute’s “Emmanouel Kriaras Platform” was implemented thanks to an initiative by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which covered the entire cost of its creation through an exclusive grant. 

The grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation covered the cost for cataloguing the books, scanning the archive and building the website. In addition to the information it contains about Emm. Kriaras himself, his relationship to the Institute, his will, etc., the website consists of two separate search applications, pertaining to the Library and the Emm. Kriaras Archive. 

The Emm. Kriaras’ Library 
Emm. Kriaras’ Library numbers 6,905 titles and consists of 11,314 volumes. They are classified in three categories: (a) the books of philological-linguistic interest, which the Institute’s Library lacked, remained at the Institute and are now located at the Institute’s offices at the New Building of the School of Philosophy (Room 418) of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1,390 titles, 1,577 volumes), (b) the books of broader scientific interest were donated to the Central Library of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and were incorporated into its collection (4,579 titles, 7,806 volumes), (c) the books of broader interest were donated to the National Library of Greece and will be displayed in a special unit under the name ‘The Emm. Kriaras Library’ (936 titles, 1,931 volumes), at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. The Institute’s Board of Directors believes that, in this manner, the donator’s wish—for his books to be accessible to as many people as possible—is best fulfilled.

Through the Institute’s “Emmanouel Kriaras Platform”, the user can have a complete picture of the books that Emm. Kriaras had in his library, search for specific titles, find the books they are interested in and their location, as well as other relevant information. 

The Emm. Kriaras’ Archive 
To the Institute Emm. Kriaras bequeathed “manuscripts of complete and incomplete studies of his, folders containing photocopies of small studies and folders with photocopies of reviews of his work.” The part of the Emm. Kriaras Archive made available to the public through the Institute’s ‘Emm. Kriaras Website’ consists of texts of the last two categories. It contains nine folders and two books (with reviews of the Dictionary of Medieval Vulgar Greek Literature), which have been digitized and contain: (a) published and unpublished texts of scholars who wrote or spoke about Emm. Kriaras or particular works of his, (b) articles which contain references to him or his work, to his educational and political activity, to events held in his honour or to awards he received, (c) articles, proposals, addresses, speeches, open letters and interviews of Emm. Kriaras, (d) presentations, articles, speeches, transcripts of radio programs about Emm. Kriaras’ research interests. In total, after sorting out the multiple photocopies, the original items amount to 687, corresponding to 3,511 digitized pages. The decision to make this particular section of the archive electronically available to the public is related to the fact that this section most clearly illustrates Emm. Kriaras’ contribution to science, as this was acknowledged by hundreds of individuals who studied and reviewed his work.

Mr. George Papanastasiou, Director of the Institute of Modern Greek Studies, on the occasion of the completion of the project, stated: “Emm. Kriaras’ ties with the Institute, which were initially established when he was appointed as member of the Institute’s first Board of Directors by its founder, Manolis Triandaphyllidis, were never severed, despite his dismissal from this position at the University by the junta regime, in 1968. It was a relationship of deep appreciation and affection manifested in various ways over the years: through the occasional provision of financial support by the Institute to Emm. Kriaras for the purposes of compiling his Lexicon, the publication of four of his books by the Institute assigned by Emm. Kriaras himself, the donation of Emm. Kriaras to the Institute in loving memory of his wife. These shared feelings of appreciation and affection found their most comprehensive expression when the great teacher bequeathed to the Institute his book collection and large part of his archive. Hence, it is our obvious duty to ensure that this legacy would be utilized and showcased in the best possible way. For the optimal utilization of the book collection, it was decided that it should be classified in three parts, one that remained at the Institute, one that was given to the Central Library of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and one that was donated to the National Library.  In addition, books and documents from the archive, considered publishable, are made available online, owing to the decisive contribution and exclusive support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which also initiated the endeavor. The decision to provide open and free access to the material aligns with the great Greek philologist’s breadth of spirit and sense of democracy.

Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, stated, with regards to the SNF grant to the Institute: “Although no single project is capable of embracing Emmanouel Kriaras’ entire breadth of knowledge and work, we believe that the digital presentation of part of the work and the archive is an excellent resource for new generations of scholars. This was also the driving force behind our Foundation’s decision to approach the Institute of Modern Greek Studies, in the fall of 2014, in order to effectively support the legacy of the late professor. This project was implemented in the midst of a severe economic crisis in our country and despite all adversity, because it was realized due to… love; the love, of which Kriaras himself so often spoke. A love for the idea, the ‘new’, the challenge, the goal, the ideal; a love for Greece itself. This must be the driving force for all of us, if we desire to overcome all obstacles. We need to fall in love with hope, with the ‘better’, with the pursuit of the ideal in every facet of our lives, and continue to work on it. Only this way, will we ultimately be able to truly live and create, as the late Emmanouel Kriaras did.”

The Institute of Modern Greek Studies would like to thank the following, who worked on the project: A. Chouchoulidakis, responsible for cataloguing the books, and A. Amanatidis, for archiving the Archive’s records. The two catalogs were created based on international library standards. Furthermore, the Institute would like to thank Ef. Kleidonas, for proofreading the entries, S. Natsios, for scanning the material, and A. Paschalis, for designing the website and electronically processing the material.