The course on Computer science for the humanities is part of the educational curriculum of the university degree in Communication studies.

In accordance with the objectives of the degree program, the course will provide students with a basic knowledge of the theoretical foundations of the digital ecosystem, and to introduce the use of computers and digital tools in the humanities, with special reference to text encoding, analysis and representation.

The main aim of the teaching is to allow students to understand the principles underlying the digital devices they use every day, acquiring the core notions required to understand the relevance of the research and debate in the field of Digital Humanities.

At the end of the course, participants will understand the basic principles of the theory of information, as well as the main ideas allowing for the use of digital tools and information in the humanities.
teacher profile | teaching materials


The course is organized into two main sections:

Section A - The digital world: A basic introduction. The concepts of information and digitization. Turing machine. Von Neumann machine. Computer. Networks: history, topology, protocols. Introduction to the world wide web and to mark-up languages; Introduction to Artificial Intelligence. Strong and weak AI, Turing test, connectionism, neural networks. Internet as global medium and features of online communication.

Section B - Introduction to digital humanities: the definition of DH; forms of digital textuality; Introduction to textual encoding; Basic notions of Digital publishing; Digital tools for school and learning.

Section A is propedeutic to section B.

Core Documentation

Modulo A: - Fabio Ciotti e Gino Roncaglia, Il mondo digitale, cap. I-IX, Laterza 2000 (16a ristampa, 2021)

Modulo B: - Daniele Silvi e Fabio Ciotti, Lezioni di informatica umanistica, Universitalia 2021
- Gino Roncaglia, L'età della frammentazione, Laterza 2020 (second, augmented edition)

Non-attending students will add to the textbooks also:
- Franco Moretti, A una certa distanza, Carocci 2020

A list of alternative textbooks in English is available upon request.

Type of delivery of the course

If the evolution of the COVID pandemics will allow for it, the course will be in presence. Further courseware will be available on the Moodle platform

Type of evaluation

written test, with the possibility of an oral test if needed