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This Preface briefly describes the scientific context within which the Catalogue of Strong Italian Earthquakes was conceived and progressively developed. The catalogue is perhaps the most impor-tant outcome of a well-established joint project between the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica, the leading Italian institute for basic and applied research in seismology and solid earth geophysics, and SGA (Storia Geofisica Ambiente), a private firm specialising in the historical investigation and systematisation of natural phenomena. In her contribution "Method of investigation, typology and taxonomy of the basic data: navigating between seismic effects and historical contexts", Emanuela Guidoboni outlines the general framework of modern historical seismology, its complex relation with instrumental seismology on the one hand and historical research on the other. This presentation also highlights the many other contributions making up the Introduction to this third edition of
the catalogue. The authors hope that it will make for informative and useful reading.
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