Digital tools for historical research [Sede TN] (2016/2017)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Marco Bellabarba, Massimo Rospocher
Marco Bellabarba
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
NN - -
Language of instruction
II sem Trento dal Feb 13, 2017 al May 31, 2017.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The so-called "digital humanities" offer immense possibilities for historical research, and at the same time invite traditional historians to rethink the practices of their own discipline.
The first part of the course will provide a theoretical framework regarding the relationship between history and digital, and it will analyze the new possibilities and new research models determined by the combination of humanistic culture and technology.
The course aims to illustrate some useful tools for the historian to organize and share information, find sources and information, build analytical bibliographies, communicate the research outputs online (through apps, research blogs, open web, social media, social networks and academic websites).
In the second part of the course will be presented some concrete examples of international research projects of digital history, particularly concerning: digitization of sources and digital archives, textual analysis of political discourse, GIS technology (Geographic Information System), use of augmented reality and 3D reconstruction of historical and cultural sites.
At the end of the course students will be able to understand the possibilities of the web to make and communicate historical research, but also to develop a critical awareness of the limits and risks related to the rhetoric of a technological revolution in the humanities.


- Introduction: history and the ‘digital turn’, digital humanities and new humanism, new research models
- Travelling through time machine: Renaissance Venice
- (Digital) Tools Box: online resources and softwares.
- Online sources for the historian: archives and digital libraries
- Academia beyond Academia: apps, communities, blog and social networks
- "Hidden Florence": Seeing and being in the Renaissance city: digital tools for a context-aware history of material culture
- 3D reconstruction of historical and cultural sites
- Historians and Big data: textual analysis
- “The dark side of digital humanities”

Teaching Methods: Lectures and invited guest speakers

- T. Hitchcock, "Debate Forum: Confronting the Digital: or how academic history writing lost the plot", in «Cultural and Social History», 10/1, 2013, pp. 9-23
- J. Schnapp, Digital Humanities, Milano 2015
- M. Cau, M. Largaiolli, "La piattaforma A.L.C.I.D.E. per l’analisi del discorso politico. Un progetto di ricerca transdisciplinare", in «Storicamente», 12, 2016:
- Roy Rosenzweig, "Clio Wired. The Future of the Past in the Digital Age", Columbia University Press 2010
- Rolando Minuti (ed), Il web e gli studi storici. Guida critica all'uso della rete, Carocci 2015.
- F. Nevola, Rosenthal D, "Locating experience in the Renaissance city using mobile app technologies: the 'Hidden Florence' project", in Terpstra (ed), Mapping Space, Sense, and Movement in Florence: Historical GIS and the Early Modern City, London: Routledge, 2016
- F. Nevola, "Microstoria 2.0: Geo-locating Renaissance spatial and architectural history", in L. Estill, D. Jakacki, M. Ullyot (edd.), Early Modern Studies and the Digital Turn, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, 2016

More detailed instructions on which parts to study and further materials will be available during classes.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral Exam, or alternativly submission of an essay (to be agreed with the teacher)