||The research project presented in the paper is being carried on in the Geodesy and Geomatics area of a Ph.D program in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering. It raises from a Research Project of National Interest funded by the Italian Ministry of University and has the aim to equip Historians with a tool that can facilitate their work in terms of consulting historical archives. This project has been dealt with by using a cognitive approach, in order to identify the key issues and the appropriate tools to help the Historians in satisfying their research needs.
Data collected from historical Medieval sources in Italian National Archives have been initially organized into a spreadsheet; the data have been associated with spatial information (point coordinates), corresponding to the place names found in historical sources: knowing the spatial reference it was then possible to import data into a Geographic Information System (GIS).
The main focus of the Ph.D. program activities is the publication of the Medieval data in the Web, in order to make them available for the consultation and query by Historians. Two kinds of approaches have been explored: one is typical of the WebGIS architecture, while the other is again based on a client-server architecture, but in this case only the data, collected into and managed by a Database Management System (DBMS), are stored in a server and the GIS tools are provided by a Desktop GIS installed locally on a PC. In the paper, the two architectures will be described, comparing them in order to underline advantages and disadvantages of each approach.