48693 - Computer Science for Cultural Heritage

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course provides students with an overall knowledge of technologies and IT tools to support the study of cultural heritage: digital transposition and analysis of objects and documents, organization of databases, ontologies and semantic web, three-dimensional acquisitions and virtual reconstructions by computer graphics. Through case studies in the various areas of cultural heritage (archaeological, historical-artistic and architectural, archival-library and music), the student acquires critical competence on the main digital technologies useful for the knowledge, conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage.

Course contents

First of all, the basic concepts of computer science will be presented and explained according to a humanistic approach to the subject (from the definition of computer as a universal algorithmic machine to computer science as a science of computer use and programming science; from the meaning and implications of the term digital to search for traces of digital in the history of humanity; from the capacity for symbolic representation and human communication to the binary representation of information). The relationship between humanist and computer science will be discussed. Then we will try to understand how information technology has been used for the protection and enhancement of cultural heritage by reviewing the main tools and methodologies starting from the first applications of information technology to cultural heritage (databases). Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between disruptive technologies (digital breaking) and cultural heritage. Then we will discuss the concept of digital cultural heritage and that of digital cultural heritage. In particular, digital cultural resources will be analyzed (from their representation and dissemination on the web to their conservation).Part of the lessons will be dedicated to the treatment of digital images, specifically, to the digital transposition of objects and documents.



For exam preparation, the reference text is that of F. Tomasi, Metodologie e discipline umanistiche (Carocci editore, Rome, 2008). To supplement the reference text, educational materials (slides, readings, links to websites and portals of interest for the subject) are available on the virtual platform.unibo.it. To access the platform it is necessary to include the course in one's study plan.

For those with insufficient basic knowledge of computer science, we also recommend consulting the text by Curtin - Foley - Sen - Morin, Italian edition edited by A. Marengo Alessandro Pagano, Informatica di base. With online update. With e-book, 6 edition, McGraw-Hill Education, Milan, 2016. Alternatively, we recommend Stefano Allegrezza, Basic nformatica di base. Conoscere e comprendere le risorse digitali nella società dell’informazione, Simple Editions, Macerata, 2009.

Publications of particular guidance effectiveness

For an introduction to computer science, telematics and their applications in the humanities, see Marco Lazzari, Informatica Umanistica, McGrawHill, Milan, 2014. On memory devices and the preservation of digital documents, see Stefano Allegrezza, Le memorie per la conservazione a lungo termine dei documenti digitali, Simple Editions, Macerata, 2013.On the standards for file formats, see Stefano Pigliapoco - Stefano Allegrezza, Produzione e conservazione del documento digitale. Requisiti e standard per i formati informatici, Vol. 1, edited by Stefano Pigliapoco, Simple Editions, Macerata, 2008. On the representation and storage of information, the publication and retrieval of information on the net and on the Web, see Silvana Castano - Alfio Ferrara - Stefano Montanelli, Informazione, conoscenza e web, Pearson, 2009. On computer methods applied to historical-artistic and literary research, see Anne Burdick - Johanna Drucker - Peter Lunenfeld - Todd Presner - Jeffrey Schapp, Umanistica digitale, Mondadori, Milan, 2014.

Teaching methods

Frontal and online lessons. Laboratory activities.

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas] on Health and Safety online.

Assessment methods

The examination consists of an oral interview aimed at assessing the knowledge and critical and methodological skills acquired by the student, who will be invited to discuss the texts, themes and methodological issues addressed during the course and during the exercises. Any tests (with multiple choice question, multiple answer, true or false statement, open answer, word association, personalised question) could be administered on the EOL platform.

For students attending, in addition to the previous programme, an individual work (theme) will be assigned by the teacher before the end of the course and must be sent 10 days before the appeal chosen by the student to the address indicated on the virtual platform.unibo.it.

For non-attending students, in addition to the previous program and individual work (theme), additional questions are provided on some essays, always relating to the topics covered in the course, available on the virtual platform.unibo.it

In the evaluation of the exam, the student's ability to orientate himself within the sources, the topics covered in the lesson and the exam bibliography to illustrate themes and problems, and to know how to establish links between them, will be taken into account.

The mastery of the contents and the ability to synthesise and analyse the themes and concepts and the ability to express oneself adequately and in language appropriate to the subject matter will then be assessed.

The student's achievement of an organic vision of the themes dealt with in the lesson together with their critical use, a good command of expression and specific language will be assessed with marks of excellence; educational gaps and/or inappropriate language - even in a context of minimal knowledge of the examination material - will lead to marks that will not exceed sufficiency.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Teaching tools

Learning control questionnaires.

Collaborative online teaching tools to integrate traditional classroom teaching activities: Moodle platform, forum, chat, web conf .. wiki.

Use of contents (textual and multimedia teaching materials, videos, exercises) available to students enrolled on the e-learning platform.

Online Educational Resources: Sitography.


Office hours

See the website of Stefano Russo