CFI lecture: Rediscovering the University of Bologna's digital past: between the silence and the noise

On 3 June Federico Nanni from University of Bologna will present aspects of his PhD project on the history of Italian university websites.

2015.04.09 | Janne Nielsen

Federico Nanni

"The University of Bologna is considered the oldest university in continuous operation in the World; comprehending specific aspects of the history of this institution has already offered to historians a unique possibility of digging deeper in the relationship between the university, its huge students community and the city of Bologna itself.

Since the advent of the World Wide Web a new and different kind of primary source has been available for researchers: born digital materials, documents which exist only online, are becoming more and more useful for historians interested in studying the recent times. However they are more difficult to preserve in their integrity compared to traditional sources and at the same time they are often too many to be analysed without employing a computational approach.

Starting from these assumptions, in my presentation I intend to describe how born digital documents could be used to reconstruct the presence online of the University of Bologna during the first 25 years of the World Wide Web. My research is particularly focused on the methodological aspects of dealing with the “scarcity and abundance” (Rosenzweig, 2003) of born digital documents. In my talk I will describe how I retrieved and analysed materials from different web and newspapers archives and how I employed computational methods (Natural Language Processing and Topic Models) in order to extract information from the university digital library corpus."

Federico Nanni is a PhD Student at Science, Technology and Society, CIS – Department of Philosophy, University of Bologna.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday 3 June at 14:00-15:30 in the Nygaard-building, room 295.