Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura della Compagnia di San Paolo


The course consists of five online modules that introduce students to some basic concepts and essentials of computer science such as cryptography, steganography, accessibility, databases and user experience, followed by a practical experience with working on digital historical databases. It will be followed by a hands-on workshop at the premises of Fondazione 1563 in Torino, presenting case studies from the foundation.

General learning objectives for PhD candidates

The aim of the course is to provide the basic skills knowledge and competences to PhD candidates in order to understand the computing background of digital archival databases so that they can develop, modify and administrate them.

During the final workshop, the candidates will work on actual databases with images and text, provided by Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura and will have their own personal projects to complete.

Further, the course emphasizes the development of skills related to STEM, and in particular computer science and software engineering.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the candidate should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


After completion of the course, the candidate:

  • Has a broad understanding of the principles behind security, accessibility, and resilience;
  • Has knowledge about cryptographic and steganographic primitives and their application in practice; • Has insight into the importance of accessibility;
  • Can judge the appropriateness of archival resources;
  • Has a good understanding of the leading contemporary technologies for the development of databases for software information systems.
  • Has specific knowledge about UX concepts;


After completion of the course, the candidate:

  • Can develop, maintain and administrate archival databases;
  • Can discuss issues of accessibility and open access;
  • Can evaluate security and resilience of databases;

General competence

After completion of the course, the candidate:

  • Can identify issues with accessibility of archival resources;
  • Can identify threats to database integrity;
  • Can understand cryptographic and steganographic principles;
  • Can understand database structures;

Credits (ECTS)


Specific terms:


Master Degree or equivalent in disciplines relevant to STEM, digital humanities or historical sciences.

Compulsory Requirements

English language, Basic computer competences

Useful pre-requisite knowledge

  • Basic linear algebra, modular arithmetic and basic Matlab experience would be an advantage.
  • Basic understanding of propositional logic and the mathematical concepts for functions, sets, graphs and trees.
  • Basic understanding of some computer systems concepts such as client-server architecture, TCP/IP computer networks (how the Internet works), layered and modular software information systems.
  • Basic understanding of the programming concepts for objects, methods and attributes.

Compulsory assignments:

  • Completion of a personal or team project

Form of assessment

Grading of a personal project developed over the course and reviewed for both applicability and engineering soundness.

Who may participate

The course is primarily for PhD candidates. Post-doctoral and Masters students may be considered upon the discretion of the organizers

How to participate

Fill in a form on

The participants will be selected based on the presentation of a motivational letter, where they will be asked to include:

  • why they are interested in participating in the workshop
  • what they expect from the workshop and how they will contribute to it
  • their interest in and experience with digital tools applied to research
  • their CV and a short description of their research

Learning Materials

The following course materials are available in ISPAS Zenodo community. All files are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License.

Learning material Access
Cryptography – Lecture 1: Introduction to Cryptography, Historical cryptosystems DOI
Cryptography – Lecture 2: Classical cryptanalysis DOI
Cryptography – Lecture 3: Modern cryptography DOI
Steganography – Introduction to Steganography DOI
Steganography – Steganographic channel. LSB embedding. Steganographic security. DOI
Steganography – Steganographic Security. Matrix Embedding. Steganography using q-ary symbols DOI
Steganography – Non-shared selection channel. Steganalysis DOI
Databases – Introduction to Databases for Non-computer Science PhD Students DOI
User Experience – Introduction and Common Approaches and Methods DOI
Accessibility – Introduction to Accessibility DOI
Accessibility – Disabilities Types DOI
Accessibility – Assistive Technologies DOI
Accessibility – Web Accessibility Standards and Guidelines DOI
Accessibility – Laws and Regulations DOI