75831 - History of the Book and Library Science (1)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

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 Coming of the Book

The coming of the printed book, around 1450, spelt cultural and technical innovations. Furthermore early printed books were committed to meet the expectation of their readers, who had always been accostumed to the form of the manuscript.
In the 15th century, the book in cuna, i.e. "in the cradle", the so-called incunable, gained gradually its own forms and structures, so that in the early 16th century it became almost the same object nowadays known and used by readers.
The incunable, mostly without title page, page numbers, was often decorated and illuminated, as well as rarely printed on parchment rather than paper, a definitely more common support.
Since 15th century illustrations appeared in printed books; moreover a more complex page design, as well as many paratextual elements (first of all, the title page), were experimented in them.

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 - Book History:

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

2. L. FEBVRE - H.-J. MARTIN, La nascita del libro, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1977 or G. MONTECCHI, Storia del libro e della lettura, Milano-Udine, Mimesis, 2015, vol. 1: Dalle origini ad Aldo Manuzio.

ALL THE STUDENTS will explain one record, dealing with an European Fifteenth century edition, taken from one of the following online catalogues:

1. ISTC, Incunabula Short Title Catalogue;

2. GW, Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke (English or German version).

II modulo - Library Science:

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 (no email please).

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.

Lessons will take place in libraries of Bologna and Emilia-Romagna, in sight of some Fifteenth and Sixteenth century editions, both Italian and European.

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. E. BARBIERI, Guida al libro antico: conoscere e descrivere il libro tipografico, Firenze, Le Monnier, 2006;

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