84040 - History of Libraries and History of Bibliography

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Fiammetta Sabba

  • Credits 6

  • SSD M-STO/08

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Corso Library and Archive Science

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The cognitive acquisition of the main types of bibliographic tools and the theoretical stages of the history of the bibliography as a discipline makes the students able to evaluate the bibliographic coverage and the level of the logic of organization and physical disposition of the documents of a library.

Students will acquire awareness of the strategic role played by libraries in the selection, conservation, transmission and use of written memory, knowing how to identify paradigms, models of reference and value, depending on the type studied.

Course contents

The course aims to provide an in-depth knowledge of the history of libraries and of the history of bibliography, considering the two disciplines connected in the unitary framework of the history of written culture.

The course will be structured in two parts:

1. History of the Bibliography. Illustration of concepts and bibliographic tools; analysis of the main bibliographic works to grasp the historical evolution and the cultural and intellectual scope: the millennial bibliographic chain up to the Liber de scriptoribus ecclesiasticis Johannes Trithemius, the 'Bibliotheca Universalis' by Conrad Gesner, Ebert and Schrettinger from the cultural logic to the librarian logic for the birth of modern librarianship.

2. History of libraries. Deepening of themes, concepts, and aspects considered relevant for the History of libraries: the foundation and development of libraries and their types; the dispersion and reconstruction of book funds; personal and private collections as a bibliographical paradigm; the origin of public library model; the architecture of ancient book halls; the social and cultural role of libraries through the travel literature.


Alfredo Serrai - Fiammetta Sabba, Profilo di Storia della Bibliografia. Milano, Sylvestre Bonnard, 2005, p.1-70.

Fiammetta Sabba. La ‘Bibliotheca Universalis' di Conrad Gesner, monumento della cultura europea. Roma, Bulzoni, 2012.

Fiammetta Sabba, Viaggi tra i libri. Le biblioteche italiane nella letteratura del Grand Tour, Pisa - Roma, Fabrizio Serra editore, 2018, p.1-87, 143-146, 247-254, 281-318, 325-326; additionally add two 'travelers' in the 'Second Party' and two from the 'Third Party'.

** Non-attending students will add a volume of their choice between:

La storia delle biblioteche: temi, esperienze di ricerca, problemi storiografici: convegno nazionale, L'Aquila, 16-17 settembre 2002, a cura di Alberto Petrucciani e Paolo Traniello, Roma, AIB, 2003.

Giorgio Montecchi, Storie di biblioteche, di libri e di lettori, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2018.


Teaching methods

Frontal lessons; bibliographic research laboratories, and visits to libraries.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral interview to assess the knowledge of the topics discussed during the lessons and the recommended bibliography, and the critical and methodological abilities matured by the student.

They will consider:

- Mastery of the content

- The ability to synthesize and analyze the themes and concepts

- The ability to know adequately and with appropriate language to the subject matter.

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

Teaching tools

Commented projection of original bibliographic texts

Commented projection of images of historical and contemporary libraries. 

Research exercises given by teacher.


It should be noted that initiatives (seminars, conferences, presentations of books ...) reported and / or organized by the teacher are to be considered part of the Teaching and will be recognized at the oral final exam.

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.

Office hours

See the website of Fiammetta Sabba