User Guide

User Guide

last updated December 1, 2017

Platform Features

  • bilingual English/Italian navigation menu; NB: the Italian menu is temporarily broken, but each page is accessible from the corresponding page of the English menu.
  • the text of the Zibaldone distributed by date divisions;
  • the four indexes that Leopardi wrote for the Zibaldone;
  • display settings;
  • a key to the text display;
  • a sample of visualizations of the Zibaldone and its Indexes;
  • a calendar menu for accessing the Zibaldone by year and month of composition;
  • a blog menu by date of composition showing five entries preceding and five following the target entry;
  • a search box for accessing the text by page or paragraph number;
  • a search box for keywords;
  • a paragraph information window;

Platform Settings

The Platform Settings are designed to display a customized version of the Zibaldone by allowing users to choose which annotations of the text would be activated in a browsing session. The Settings distinguish between Manuscript Annotations and Editorial Annotations, and the default setting is to hide all annotations. Some authorial annotations, such as underlining or the markers for interlinear additions, may be intrusive for the purposes of reading, and hence could be hidden; on the other hand, the reader may want to evidence any quoted text to facilitate reading, etc. The Settings currently include the following features: underlining; markers to evidence additions in the margin, inline, between the lines, and footnotes; paragraph numbers; suggestions for the dates of those fragments that Leopardi did not date; suggestions specifying the references to related fragments which Leopardi makes implicitly; spelling corrections; markers for quotes. The Settings menu will eventually include additional encoded features of the text, such as underlining for rhetorical emphasis, bibliographic references and links to online resources, ink variations, normalization of names, specification of editorial responsibility for each element, etc. 

Zibaldone Navigation

The sequential navigation of the text is by date division, with the text enclosed by Leopardi's date marker given as the title of each entry. The choice to display the text by date divisions, instead of by page number, reflects the semantic structure of the Zibaldone as an intellectual blog: after the first ca. 100 pages, when he starts writing there regularly, Leopardi’s custom is to end a series of reflections with a date marker to denote a semantic division. Often, there are multiple entries marked as written on the same date, and sometimes there are entries that are marked as written during several days. Leopardi's date marker also appears as the heading of each entry in the blog menu, with the corresponding page and paragraph number in parentheses. Besides the day, month, and year of composition, the date marker often contains descriptive information about the religious holiday celebrated on that date or, much less frequently, an event of personal or historical significance; sometimes it also includes the day of the week and the location where Leopardi is writing. You can also access the text through the year and month menu, where you would go to the first entry of each month (only months that contain entries are listed in the menu). Alternatively, you can go to a specific page or paragraph number by typing it in the box menu, where paragraph 111,1 is given as the default example. While navigating the text, on the the bottom left of the main text window you can see the date of the entry that precedes the target entry, and on the bottom right, the date of the entry that follows it. On the top left of the main window you can see the first paragraph number of the preceding entry, and on the top right, the first paragraph number of the following entry. You can follow the chronological order of the text by clicking on these navigation anchors, or you can go to the blog menu to the left, which allows you to jump up to five consecutive entries back and forth.

Zibaldone Transcription

The text transcription is semi-diplomatic. The transcription is currently being proofread to ensure complete accuracy by consulting the transcription and facsimiles provided by the CD-ROM edition (Ballerini and Ceragioli, 2009). The revising of the transcription is reflected onsite up to p. 1000 and will be updated at every 500-page milestone. For details on transcription sources and revisions, see the Editorial History page.

The transcription does not reflect the manuscript's:

  • deleted text;
  • discontinuous underlining of a sequence of words;
  • markers for interlinear additions of 1-2 words (to be included in the current revision)
  • line divisions of prose;
  • majority of abbreviations, which have been normalized;

The transcription reflects the manuscript's:

  • page numbers;
  • punctuation;
  • underlining (single and double);
  • markers for additions;
  • line divisions of verse and quotations;
  • spelling errors (editorial suggestions for these are given as a display option in the Settings);
  • abbreviations of the following kind:
    • “p. e.”; “etc.”, “ecc.”, “ec.”;
    • dates, such as “8.bre” for "ottobre" (normalized in the calendar navigation);
    • text that is part of bibliographic references, such as “l.”, “lib.”, “ediz.”, "ult.";
    • text that is part of a quote;
    • proper names and titles of works (normalized as stand-off markup to be included as a display option in the Settings);

Display Key

The Key is located on the Zibaldone page and gives an overview of how the annotations selected from the Settings are evidenced in the text.

  • Page numbers are displayed in bold;
  • Quotes are displayed in italics;
  • Additions written in the margin, footnotes, inline, and interlinear additions are all displayed in braces and have been integrated in the line of text according to their manuscript markers.
  • Marginal additions and footnotes are furthermore highlighted in blue and have three distinguishing markers:
    • marginal notes are those additions in the margin which Leopardi connects to a specific place on the page with a plus sign (+);
    • float notes are marginal additions which Leopardi does not connect to a specific place on the page, but which is determined by the editor and is denoted by an anchor sign;
    • footnotes are denoted by a number sign (#);
  • Editorial Additions appear in square brackets and have been used to provide:
    • paragraph numbers;
    • corrections of the page or paragraph of fragment references;
    • spelling corrections;
    • date suggestions;
    • explanatory notes;
    • page and paragraph references for Leopardi's implicit indications of semantic relation between fragments;

The responsibility for each editorial intervention, based on the editions and scholarship that was consulted in encoding the text, has been recorded and will be made available at a later stage as a hover over the text of editorial annotations. 

Paragraph Information Window

A pointer [>] is situated to the left of each paragraph on the Zibaldone page. When you click on the pointer, it opens up an information window listing as active links the fragment references directly related to the given paragraph, followed by headings from the 1827 Index and from the PNR which include a reference to that paragraph. The types of references or links have been categorized as “outgoing” (references to fragments elsewhere in the text), “incoming” (fragments which make a reference to the given paragraph), and “reciprocal” (when outgoing and incoming coincide). The index headings listed in the window are active links which expand to show all of the passages listed under the same heading. The information window will eventually include a graph of the entire extended chain of references of the target fragment.


The search box recognizes single words and numbers; it does not recognize abbreviated words, partial words, a sequence of words, a distinction between capital and lower case letters. The search returns a list of results for the Zibaldone, with the keyword displaying in red. It counts the number of paragraphs that contain the keyword, not the number of total occurrences of the keyword. Each page of results dsplays 11 fragments. Note that the last paragraph of each page of results is repeated as the first paragraph of the subsequent page. The function to export the text of all search results as a Word file is currently broken.


In all four indexes the references to page and paragraph numbers in the Zibaldone have been made into active links to the text. The 1827 Index can be accessed by an alphabetical menu which allows you to jump to the first of the headings listed under each letter, or you can scroll through it in the alphabetical order established by Leopardi. The references written on index cards which Leopardi did not copy in the polished draft of his 1827 Index, but simply referenced them (the so-called polizzine richiamate), have been incorporated in the 1827 Index with their headings displayed in bold. The references that Leopardi makes between index headings in the 1827 Index have also been made into active links. When you click on an index heading, the platform displays the text of the fragments referenced in that heading. Depending on the speed of your connection, headings listing several dozens of references may take some time to display. You can click on the pointer “>” to the left of each paragraph to display its information window. The text of all fragments listed under a heading can be exported as a Word file by clicking on the Word icon. Currently, in the text export function the links to sequences of pages or paragraphs are not properly processed (i.e. in the heading "Ossian. Bardi" the reference to pp.994-995), so only the page number displays in the Word file without the text. If you have such sequences in your query you will have to copy and paste these manually.


Under the Visualizations page you can follow the instructions on downloading Gephi, if you would like to explore the network graphs of the Indexes. You can also view a graph showing the cross-reference structure of the entire text and a small sample of charts correlating semantic elements of the Zibaldone.

Network graphs of Index headings. For each heading of the 1827 Index and of the PNR you can generate a Gephi network graph of the fragments listed under that heading as denoted by their paragraph/page number, along with any additional index headings to which they belong. If the index heading contains many references, you may need to zoom in to see the additional headings of the fragments; vice versa, if the index theme lists just a few references, then you may need to zoom out to see the graph. The headings of sub-themes currently appear cut off from their main theme. The Gephi graphs are meant to be for explorative purposes in providing an overview of the semantic field of a given index theme, which is based on the information extracted from the 1827 Index and the PNR. The graphs do not include information about any of the cross-references recorded in the Zibaldone, although this is a desirable function. The size of the nodes and the physical proximity of textual fragments and thematic headings to the main heading node are representative of their semantic weight, however the relevance of this representation has not been thoroughly evaluated.

Index Heading Graph Analysis Example. If you go to the heading Alfieri from the 1827 Index and click on the central node with the title Alfieri, it is connected to seven fragments, two of which (the sequence of p. 3458 and p. 3459) are connected by red lines to signify that they are listed only under this heading and therefore are most closely related to that theme. A future function of the platform would allow you to access the text directly from the graph. Below these two paragraphs are three other paragraphs (2455,2; 2453,1; and 2595,1) connected by blue lines to signify that they are listed also under other headings besides Alfieri, however their node size is the same, suggesting that their semantic field is relatively contained. Two of these three paragraphs share a theme (Greci); this theme appears closer to the main node than the themes that are not shared to signify its stronger semantic value based on its higher frequency in the main node’s semantic field. The remaining two fragments (p.700,1 and p.3416,1) similarly appear close to each other on the opposite side of the main node because they also have additional themes in common (i.e. Monti and Parini). These have relatively large nodes to signify that they are polysemic (they are related to several other themes besides Alfieri, Monti, and Parini). It is not clear, however, why Monti appears closer to Alfieri than Parini does. When clicking on any of these paragraph nodes, you can see the headings of the other index themes under which they are listed. The graph displays only one level at a time, so if you shift from the Alfieri node to the node of p.700,1, you no longer see the other fragments relevant to Alfieri, even though it is the main node of the graph. A desirable function would be to display both one at a time and all of the information in the graph on demand.