The article places the DBE in the frame of the research on the history of education in Italy and its evolution in the last thirty years. This development, which could be defined tortuous rather than linear, was long affected by a neo-idealistic prejudice, and only slowly was able to liberate itself from it since the 1970’s, when it opened out to the more conscious methodology of the historical research and of the human sciences. sciences. This evolution is characterized by manifold needs: for more specific research issues, for a confident methodology, for sources retrieval and endorsement, for new research tools. Such needs have consequently been put into dialogue with the different fields of the historical research and, more recently, with the suggestions from scholars and research groups working abroad. The DBE is part of such development, since it offers a valuable research tool that not only fills an undeniable gap, but also represents an essential starting point for scholars willing to deal with such research field.
Keywords: History of education, Italy, 19th and 20st centuries, Evolution and state of the art of the history of education.