The University of Padua is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Since its foundation in 1222, the University of Padua has been attracting students from all over the world. The teaching activities are organised by the 13 faculties where about 60 thousands of students are studying, and 6 thousand are graduating every year. The educational offer of the University of Padua includes the Galilean School of Higher Education, which provides an education of excellence to talented students.

Two departments in UNIPD are involved as partners in CULTURA.

The Department of Information Engineering (DEI) is one of the biggest departments of the University, with a faculty staff of about one hundred among full, associate, and assistant professors, with more than one hundred PhD students. The research carried out at DEI ranges from microelectronics, to optics, telecommunications, and to computer science. Within this last discipline, the research is carried out on parallel architectures, advanced computing paradigms, robotics, software engineering, computer music, and information management.

The Department of History of Visual Arts and Music focuses its research mostly on History of Painting and Architecture from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Besides the relevance of the research results, which have an international impact, members of the Department are very active in promoting cultural events in Padova and in Italy. At the international level, it is also an important centre of studies on Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts and in this field a special attention is dedicated to the relations between image and science.

Research group

The Information Management Systems research group (IMS) carries out research on many aspects of information processing, with a strong focus and a long history on information retrieval, hypertexts, multilingual information access, digital libraries, and experimental evaluation. Members of the research group have pioneered research in digital annotations services that give the user the possibility of enriching digital collections through personal and sharable annotations. The research group is a European leader in digital libraries, collaborative digital culture projects and information retrieval. he research group on illuminated manuscripts has a strong expertise on the history of medieval and renaissance Italian illumination with particular emphasis on the Veneto region and the area of Ferrara. In the specific field of scientific illustration, much attention has been devoted to the environment of the University of Padua, highlighting how the innovative strength of science in Padua built foundations for modern scientific illustration at local as well as at European level.

Contribution to CULTURA

UNIPD brings to CULTURA established experience in user requirements analysis for developing models and systems able to manage digital archives of illuminated manuscripts of interest for different areas, among them history of art, history of science, botany, astronomy, and medicine.

At the same time, UNIPD brings the Imaginum Patavinae Scientiae Archivum (IPSA), which is a digital archive of illuminated manuscripts, written and illustrated by the Paduan School, and related manuscripts produced in Europe. Manuscripts of herbals have the rare characteristic of containing high quality and very realistic botanical illustrations directly drawn from nature. Manuscripts of astrological subject contain illustrations that are in relation with the most prominent theories of the Middle Ages about the influences of stars and constellation on human health and behaviour. IPSA makes available digitised images of the manuscripts and related metadata information.

UNIPD enjoys an excellent collaborative relationship with memory institutions across Italy – by acting as a reference site for CULTURA, UNIPD will demonstrate its leadership in the recollection and analysis of user requirements with a particular focus on digital humanities fields. This will stimulate further collaboration with memory institutions in Italy and beyond.

UNIPD will act as a second validation partner for the adaptive environment, and will also contribute a second digital resource on which CULTURA will act (the IPSA collection of manuscript images and associated metadata). UNIPD's high profile in the digital libraries community will be leveraged in the dissemination and impact activities of the project.

Related Work

Members of UNIPD have participated and are participating in several EU projects relevant to CULTURA:

  • PROMISE (Network of Excellence), coordinated by UNIPD, which aims at providing a virtual laboratory for conducting participative research and experimentation to foster the evaluation and benchmarking of such complex information systems, by facilitating management and offering access, curation, preservation, re-use, analysis, visualization, and mining of the collected experimental data;
  • Europeana Connect (Best Practice Network), which aims at delivering core components that are essential for the realisation of Europeana, the European Digital Library as a truly interoperable, multilingual and user-oriented service for all European citizens;
  • Europeana v1.0 (Thematic Network), which aims to release the first running prototype of the European Digital Library;
  • TELplus (Targeted Project), which extended and enhanced The European Library;  
  • TrebleCLEF (Coordination Action), which promoted experimental evaluation in the multilingual information access (MLIA) field and organized the Cross-Language Evaluation Forum (CLEF);
  • SAPIR (STREP), which developed a P2P large-scale architecture for searching and retrieving complex multi-media and audio-visual documents;
  • DELOS (Network of Excellence), which was a European network of excellence on digital libraries that conducted a joint program of activities aimed at integrating and coordinating the on-going research activities of the major European teams working in Digital Libraries with the goal of developing the next generation Digital Library technologies.