Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

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Carlos Henrique Juvêncio, Georgete Medleg Rodrigues

Last modified: 2017-12-01


Manoel Cícero Peregrino da Silva was the intelligence behind the great transformations that the National Library suffered at the dawn of the twentieth century. Inspired mainly by the ideals of Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, the jurist promoted, between the years 1900 and 1924, a series of changes in the methods of organization and diffusion of information in the institution.

By becoming director, Peregrino da Silva embodies the ideal of the time, and places the institution at the service of the State, seeking to make it fulfill its mission of symbol of the country, the largest repository of the fruits of the human spirit of Latin America, transposing to the country the idea of ​​Paul Otlet.

In this sense, it publishes a new regulation, greater exponent of the changes undergone by the institution, besides seeking to compose a body of officials fit for the Herculean work of organization of the collection. Thus, the Information Service emerges, which aims to provide support for rapid searches, independent of the Library's collection. Also creates the International Exchange Service, which becomes the central body in the contact between Brazilian and foreign information institutions, being the bridge for the sending of publications - mainly governmental ones, that served as propaganda for the modernization that the State Republican yearned and put into practice in the then Federal Capital - and to receive what was published in other countries, to know what was done again in the most advanced nations in this field. We can not forget that BN is still seeking to enrich its collection through research in foreign institutions, where documents about Brazil are copied and sent to compose the collection of the institution.

In addition, the creation of the Librarianship course in the halls of the institution is emblematic, since it shows the intention of the then director to train personnel familiar to the activities developed by BN and committed to its ideals.

Even the new building, inaugurated in 1910, seems to be a way of highlighting the process of transformation through which the country passed. In it are present the most modern construction techniques and numerous instruments have been adopted in order to facilitate their organization.

In fact, our objective with this work is to highlight the influence that the project of universal organization of the knowledge, proposed by Otlet, as well as the Documentation had strong influence in the adopted model for the reorganization of the Brazilian National Library from its change to a new one building. This hypothesis is materialized, above all, by the creation of the Bibliography and Documentation Service, which, working in correspondence with the International Bibliography Institute, has among its attributions the edition of the Brazilian bibliography, the adoption of the methods proclaimed by the Institute for the organization of its acquis, and the commitment to the creation of a national information network.

The Documentation, then, appears in the heart of the idea of ​​dissemination of universal knowledge, with very specific rules and having a consolidated theoretical and legal framework. We understand that it is closer to an information policy than to a mere technique of organization and diffusion. For its implementation, various recommendations are made, such as adherence to the Berne Convention, with a view to safeguarding the author's intellectual property, issuing laws of legal deposit and specialized or national bibliographies, setting up bibliographic offices or services, beyond, of course, the adoption of documentalist techniques.

However, the discontinuity of projects in our country is a striking feature, in the flavor of intentions and personalities and the constant deconstruction, remodeling or finalization of actions that are present until today. The Bibliography and Documentation Service, discontinued shortly after the administration of Peregrino da Silva at the head of the National Library and core of the interaction with the ideals of Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, does not escape the rule.

Besides that, the two world wars were crucial for the IIB project not to go ahead. Its collection had been damaged several times over the course of the two combats, as well as perished by the lack of resources and the governmental disinterest, mainly, from the appointment of Switzerland like neutral territory, with which Belgium competed. Since then, the internationalist projects that were located in Belgian territories lost prestige and was not different with the attempts of the jurists.

However, this situation does not explain in itself the Brazilian abandonment of documentary ideals, since, despite having the IIB as a partner, the Brazilian initiatives had a firm commitment to the creation of a network of national catalogs, for example, or with the edition of the Brazilian Bibliography, besides, of course, the constant exchange and exchange with diverse institutions.

We can thus perceive that Manoel Cícero Peregrino da Silva, despite being a figure almost forgotten by the researchers of Information Science, Documentation and Library Science in Brazil, contributed greatly to the development of the areas in the country. As a result of his time, an intellectual who served the national purpose, the character was a visionary in order to promote the organization and dissemination of the BN collection, as well as adopting techniques that would be remembered again only 40 years after the founding of IBBD. This fact is ratified through the various documents retrieved throughout our research; guided by clues and traces left by other researchers of the origins of Documentation in Brazil, we were able to unveil the influence of Peregrino da Silva in the origins of Information Science in the Country and its percussive role. In fact, we must pay attention to the preponderant role played by access to these still unpublished documentary sources, determining to elucidate or at least shed new light on characters whose role can not be neglected in order to understand the configuration of the discipline in Brazil.