75871 - Information Theory and Documentary Research

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Ravenna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Library and Archive Science (cod. 9077)

Learning outcomes

The course covers the basic principles of the discipline and its historical development between theory and practice , the relationship between the science of information, and the documentation science and the library science . After completing the course the student knows and understands the issues of the information science, and he knows the history, the themes and the technologies of processing of documents.

Course contents

The course aims to clarify the object and applications of the discipline tracing its history and development. In particular, this will be conducted through the presentation of interdisciplinary areas involved and the techniques and technologies for the organization and retrieval of information in documentary systems from the beginnings of information organized to the web. Particular importance will be given to contemporary issues common to the information science, the documentation science, the bibliography and the library science.

1. Illustration of the criticality of the concept of information, the object of study of Information Science and its inter and metadisciplinarity.

2. Crucial revolutions for the birth of 'Information Science': from electrical transmissions and genetic codes, to linguistic and semiotic information and cultural information, and related implications.

3. Fundamental concepts in Information Science: code-inference, machine-document-organism, power-entelechy, entropy-negentropy, environment, interpreter, signal, representation, data and their types, document, redundancy, noise.

4. Socio-cultural metatheories of Information: Constructivism (receiving), Collectivism (social dimension), Constructionism (language).

5. Effects of the 3 metatheories in the contemporary world: social networks, user-friendly systems, thesauri and classifications. Information retrieval: Entity-relationship model, Data-metadata-application search options, Boolean and Query operators, Recall-precision.

6. Descriptive and behavioral bibliometry: bibliometric laws, citational analysis (impact factor, cocitation analysis, bibliographic coupling), performance indicators.

7. Sources and tools for the study of information: periodicals, databases, search engines, Reference Management Systems.

8. Documentation: Paul Otlet and Henry La Fontaine (Brussels 1895). Suzanne Briet (1951). Relationship between Documentation, Library Science and Information Science.


Maria Teresa Biagetti, La scienza dell'informazione. Identità ed esperienze, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2022.

Text proposed for depth (one of your choice):

Paola Castellucci, Carte del nuovo mondo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2017.

Paola Castellucci, Dall'ipertesto al web: storia culturale dell'informatica, Roma; Bari: GLF editori Laterza, 2009.

Alberto Cevolini, L'ordine del sapere: un approccio evolutivo, Milano, Mimesi, 2022.


For those not attending the course is to be added a text of their choice:

Paola Castellucci - Sara Mori, Suzanne Briet nostra contemporanea. Con la prima traduzione italiana di Qu’est-ce que la documentation? (1951), Milano, Mimesis, 2022.

Alberto Salarelli, Introduzione alla scienza dell'informazione, Milano, Editrice Bibliografica, 2012.


Recommended the use of:

Ferruccio Diozzi, Nuovo Glossario di biblioteconomia e scienza dell'informazione, Milano, Editrice Bibliografica, 2021.

Teaching methods

Frontal ad online lessons, and thematic insights with experts.

Teaching also takes place in 'blended learning'. Gradually will appear material for consolidation and deepening at e-learning page of the course; access to the page of the e-learning with the institutional credentials and a password that will be provided in class or with chat in Teams by the teacher.


Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral interview starting from the presentation of a topic chosen by the student.

The teacher will evaluate the mastery of the content and of bibliography of the course, the ability to synthesize and analyze the themes and concepts, the use of an appropriate language, and also the critical and methodological abilities matured by the student.

You will notice that lack of training, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliographic materials offered during the course will be evaluated negatively.

The teacher can provide the assignment of an intermediate written test to be held in the classroom or a report to be discussed it during the oral examination.

Teaching tools

Activities & Tools:

Illustrative and in-depth Power Point presentations and handouts provided by the teacher.

Research exercises given by teacher.

Moments of critical discussion in class.


In the 'Virtual teaching resources' section - which can be accessed with a password that the teacher will communicate at the beginning of the lessons - the basic teaching material will be available from the start of the course (exemplary and in-depth Power Points, links to videos and handouts provided by the teacher). Furthermore, the recordings (or the link to the recordings) of the first two actual lessons of the course (which will be held in the classroom) will be available on Virtuale, so that everyone (attending, non-attending, workers, etc.) will be able to retrieve the orientation information for the course.

Please note that initiatives (educational visits, seminars, conferences, book presentations...) indicated and/or organized by the teacher are to be considered supplementary to the teaching and will be recognized during the exam.


All student who are affected by learning disability (DSA) and in need of special strategies to compensate it, are kindly requested to contact Prof. Sabba, in order to be referred to the colleagues in charge and get proper advice and instructions.


Office hours

See the website of Fiammetta Sabba


Quality education Industry, innovation and infrastructure Reduced inequalities Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.