84211 - Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

The course aims to initiate to the digital humanities field. The analysis of the main theories, methodologies and techniques of the domain, are the strategy to acquire skills on digital project planning in the humanities. The study, in particular, of the standard models used in archives, libraries and museums, allow students to learn how to produce, preserve and disseminate digital cultural collections in integrated environments.

Course contents

The course wants to initiate to digital humanities with a special focus on languages, models, tools and infrastructures for the enhancement of cultural heritage: literary texts, archive documents, bibliographic material and museum objects.

The course will be organized on three macro areas:

  1. Analysis of the main transversal tools in DH: WWW (protocol, addressing, languages); Formal languages for the representation of semi-structured data (XML and schema); The semantic web and the linked open data (Semantic Web Stack - URIs, RDFs and ontologies); Data display systems (HTML + CSS and information architecture principles); The interface design (web page elements and browsing systems).
  2. Study of the DH domain through the main research areas, but with a special focus on: digital scholarship and textual editing; Digital libraries, archives and museums. In particular, projects will be analyzed to enucleate the specific features of the process of building a digital resource in the DH domain.
  3. Classification of the main standards for the description of cultural heritage resources, and related ontologies, in the context of: resource dissemination (Dublin Core); Description of literary texts (TEI); Archival description (ISAD / EAD; ISAAR / EAC; RiC); Bibliographic description (ISBD, FRBR, MODS/Bibframe); Museum management (CIDOC-CRM).


A suggested reading, before the start of the course, is:
A Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. <http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companion/>. In particular chapters: 1, 14, 16, 17, 22, 31.

Further readings will be proposed and discussed during the lessons.

In detail some Web resources will be used:

1. for languages
TEI - <http://www.tei-c.org>; <http://teibyexample.org/>
XML - <https://www.w3schools.com/xml/>
HTML, CSS, user interface design - <https://www.codecademy.com/>
SEMANTIC WEB - <https://www.w3.org/standards/semanticweb/>
LINKED DATA - <http://linkeddata.org/>

2. for DH projects and journals:
Projects using the TEI: <http://www.tei-c.org/Activities/Projects/>
EADH projects: <http://eadh.org/projects>

Journal of DH - <http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/>
DHQ - <http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/>
DSH - <https://academic.oup.com/dsh> (via proxy)
TEI journal - <https://journal.tei-c.org/journal/index>

A reference:
Paolo Monella, Digital Humanities Bibliography,

3. for Standards:
METADATA for ALL, <http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1628/1543>

Jenn Riley, Seeing Standards: A Visualization of the Metadata Universe, copy 2009-10, <http://jennriley.com/metadatamap/>.

W3C Incubator Group Report, Library Linked Data Incubator Group: Datasets, Value Vocabularies, and Metadata Element Sets. 25 October 2011, <https://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/lld/XGR-lld-vocabdataset-20111025/>.

LODLAM (Linked Open Data for Library, Archives and Museums): Mauro Guerrini, Tiziana Possemato, Linked data: un nuovo alfabeto del web semantico. JLIS.it. Vol. 4, n. 1 (Gennaio/January 2013) - <https://www.jlis.it/article/viewFile/6305/7892>

Italian standard in LAM (Libraries, Archives and Museums):
ICCU: <http://www.iccu.sbn.it/opencms/opencms/it/main/standard/>
ICCD: <http://www.iccd.beniculturali.it/index.php?it/473/standard-catalografici>
ANAI: <http://www.anai.org/anai-cms/cms.view?munu_str=0_1_3&numDoc=111>
ICOM: <http://icom.museum/professional-standards/standards-guidelines/>

Teaching methods

Online tools;
Software analysis.

Assessment methods

The assessment will be based on:

  1. Design of a digital Web resource in the DH domain, with particular reference to the description of: architectural model (interface) and content (objective of the resource and type of data); descriptive standards; access methods (browsing systems and services). The project will be summarized in a maximum of 5 slides and presented in a maximum of 10 minutes.
  2. Creation of a prototype of a Web resource for cultural heritage that reuses all the technologies discussed (HTML5, CSS, XML, authorities, standards for cultural heritage [at least DC and TEI]), applying them to a practical case. The presentation of the resource must take place in maximum 10 minutes.

In addition to these activities, non-attending students are also required to discuss the chapters of the books indicated in the bibliography. Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

Evaluation will be based on the following parameters: respect timing (0-3 points); adequacy of the design (0-9 points); completeness of implementation (0-10 points); correctness in the use of formal languages (0-8 points); proposal of original solutions (for laude).


Teaching tools

Classes are held in a classroom equipped with personal computers connected to the Intranet and Internet.

Office hours

See the website of Francesca Tomasi