32449 - History of the Book and Library Science

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide basic knowledge about the history of the book, from the manuscript to the printing age, until the contemporary age of digital publishing. Beyond that, it presents the methods of management, services planning and implementation of the library, as well as the development and promotion of the library’s collections, with a focus on cataloguing. At the end, the student will be able to distinguish the features of each document, as well as to approach consciously to the library profession.

Course contents

The course is divided into two parts: Book History and Library Science.

Students who take the 6 CFU program can choose part 1 or part 2, according to their preference.

1) The revolution of moveable printing types

The printed book was made possible, around 1450, thanks to the technical revolution associated with the invention of moveable characters, also called printing types. Printing types were metal alloy parallelepipeds with engraved, embossed, letters or punctuation marks, etc. In the Fourteenth and Sixteenth Century, the production of the characters, drawn by the puncher, was known for important innovations: new alphabet were created (Greek) and new forms of known alphabet (Italic) were invented. Among the greatest character designers was Francesco Griffo from Bologna, type creator and punchcutter for Aldo Manuzio, inventor of the Italic character.

2) The library and its services

Privileged place for the selection, organization, use and storage of knowledge, the contemporary library has changed spaces, functions and services targeted to its public, more and more extended due to networks and digital innovations. After a brief institutional framework of the different types of libraries, students will learn to know their main resources, the systems’ set-up and the service models, the cataloguing mediation standards, the peculiarity of the different collections, due to the diversified services that libraries aim to offer, according to their mission.


I modulo - Storia del libro:

  1. F. BARBIER, Storia del libro. Dall'antichità al XX secolo, Bari, Dedalo, 2005;
  2. V. ROMANI, Bibliologia. Avviamento allo studio del libro tipografico, Milano, Ed. Sylvestre Bonnard, 2000, pp. 29-48.
  3. Students have to read and to be able to comment one of the two following texts (url of the online edition, only in the Italian version of syllabus):

    1. F. GRISELINI, Dizionario delle arti e de' mestieri, Venezia, M. Fenzo, 1769, vol. 6, pp. 197-247;

    2. M.-D. FERTEL, La science pratique de l'imprimerie, St. Omer, M.-D. Fertel, 1723, pp. 1-10;

Non attending studends (modul 1: History of the Book) will add also this reading:

1. L. FEBVRE - H.-J. MARTIN, La nascita del libro, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1977.

II modulo - Biblioteconomia:

1. G. GRANATA, Introduzione alla biblioteconomia, Bologna, il Mulino, 2009.

2. Biblioteche e Biblioteconomia. Principi e questioni, a cura di G. Solimine e P.G. Weston, Roma, Carocci, 2015.

Non attending students (modul 2: Library and Information Science) will NOT add additional reading but are invited to contact the teacher.

NB: In the present bibliography the texts are quoted in the first or most authoritative Italian editions. Each reprint of the same is as equivalent.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons, with the aid of multimedia tools.

Some lessons will take place at different libraries in Bologna and Emilia-Romagna, in direct contact with some Aldo’s editions of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Assessment methods

Assessment methods
The final exam will be an oral one, with questions aimed to verify the student's knowledge of the themes discussing during frontal lectures (only for attending students) as well as those treated in the program's texts.

Non-attending students will have to take an oral final exam about the themes treated in the program's texts.

The assessment will concentrate particularly on the skill displayed by the student in handling the sources and material in the exam bibliography and his ability to find and use information and examples to illustrate and correlate the various themes and problems addressed in the course.

The assessment will thus examine the student's:

- factual knowledge of the subject;
- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;
- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.
Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology.
A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he displays significant errors in his understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.

Teaching tools

In order to get preliminary knowledge to improve classwork, students who have never faced prior to the study of the History of the Book or the Library and Information Science will be able to read profitably one or more of the following titles:

1. L. BRAIDA, Stampa e cultura in Europa, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2000;

2. F. BARBIER, Storia del libro. Dall'antichità al XX secolo, Bari, Dedalo, 2005;

3. Guida alla Biblioteconomia, a cura di M. Guerrini, Milano, Editrice Bibliografica, 2008.

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Tinti