Information and Web Communication Science

A.Y. 2023/2024
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The understanding and usage of techniques and tools that determine the visibility of web content is a cross-cutting and pervasive theme within the world of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is of interest not only to its professionals within the discipline, but also to communication experts and humanist scholars in general. The first part of the course provides basic notions on the structure of the web, search engines and techniques for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), with special focus on the emerging theme of the "web of data". The second part discusses the objectives of digital marketing concerned with the visibility of web contents, by discussing tools and channels where the marketing practices are implemented, and by finally presenting the professional opportunities in this field.
Expected learning outcomes
The student will need to have an adequate measure of Knowledge and Skills.
Knowledge: the student will acquire knowledge about web information retrieval with a particular emphasis on search engines and related techniques for text transformation, and indexing. They will be able to illustrate the basic features of the vector-based retrieval model, and the techniques to measure the term relevance through tf-idf. In addition, the student will have knowledge about website visibility in terms of search engine retrieval (the so-called SEO - Search Engine Optimization). To this end, the student will need to know the main constructs of the HTML5 language, link analysis techniques, as well as the definition of "web of data", the various types of microdata and the impact that these notions have on both on-site and off-site SEO techniques.
The student will integrate SEO-related knowledge with an overview of the objectives of digital marketing, acquiring the comprehension of some tools and channels where digital marketing practices are implemented, with the goal to structure a simple marketing plan. The student will be able to identify the roles which are assigned in companies and agencies to who is in charge of digital marketing activities. Some concrete cases of people and teams who actually work in the field will be presented, so that it will be possible to obtain an understanding of the competencies that are required to work in the field.
Skills: The student will acquire the following skills:
· distinguish the features and the applicative issues of the vector-based retrieval model;
· know how to apply text transformation and indexing techniques of an information retrieval system;
· know how to apply TF-IDF-based techniques for measuring the term relevance in a vector-based retrieval system;
· know how to use HTML5 for webpage creation;
· know how to describe link analysis techniques and the main link analysis algorithms for ranking search engine results;
· distinguish the features of the main formats for the "web of data", such as microdata, RDFa and JSON-LD;
· know how to apply SEO techniques;
· know social media management and social advertising fundamentals;
· know how to use Mailchimp, the world leading email marketing platform;
· know how to use Wordpress to create a blog article and Yoast SEO to optimize the visibility of the article on search engines;
· know how to use Keyword Planner, a tool to identify search terms on Google.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
The course is organized in two parts.
The syllabus of part A (20 hours - 3CFU) is about the following topics:
· Information retrieval and search engines
· Vector-space retrieval model
· Text analysis techniques
· Web content indexing
· Link analysis techniques
· HTML5 notions
· Languages for the web of data
· SEO techniques (Search Engine Optimization)

The syllabus of part B (20 hours - 3CFU) is about the following topics:
· Marketing and digital marketing fundamentals
· The channels: website /Wordpress and Yoast SEO
· The channels: newsletter and email marketing / Mailchimp
· The channels: social and social media advertising
· Working in digital marketing: the roles
Prerequisites for admission
No prerequisites
Teaching methods
Lectures are based on frontal teaching with the support of slides and handouts that are progressively published on the reference course website (Ariel platform). Throughout the lectures, the analysis of real case-studies is enforced with the aim at illustrating the application of theoretical course contents to concrete scenarios. Seminars are also planned with the participation of professional experts on web-communication topics.
Lecture attendance is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended.
Teaching Resources
The bibliography coincides for attending and non-attending students.
For the part A:
· C.D. Manning, P. Raghavan, H. Schütze. Introduction to Information Retrieval. Cambridge University Press. 2008. Text in English, free download online (
Chapters: 1 (excluded "query optimization" in 1.3), 2 (excluded 2.3 and 2.4.3), 6 (excluded 6.1, 6.3.3 and 6.4), 19 (included 19.5 without math details, excluded 19.6), 20 (excluded 20.3, 20.4), 21 (up to 21.2.1 excluded).
· Introduction to HTML5 ( Focus on the following topics of the tutorial: 01. Introduction, 02. Document structure, 03. Semantic elements, 06. Video, 07. Audio, 08. Canvas, 09. Conclusions.
· Linked data and semantic web (
· Introduction to structured web data (
· Introduction to microdata (, text in English).

Moreover, choose a book between:
· M. Maltraversi. SEO e SEM. Guida avanzata al Web marketing (fourth edition). LSWR publishing. 2016. Text in Italian.
· E. Enge, S. Spencer, J.C. Stricchiola. The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization. O'Reilly publishing, third edition. 2015. Text in English. About this book, an Italian version from Flacowski publishing is also available with Jacopo Matteuzzi and Flavio Mazzanti (editors).

For the part B,
· Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan, Marketing 4.0. Moving from traditional to digital. John Wiley and sons, 2017

Suggested books to increase the knowledge about channels:
· Veronica Gentili, Professione social media manager, Hoepli, 2020
· Veronica Gentili, La pubblicità su Facebook e su Instagram. 50 consigli pratici per ads di successo, Flaccovio 2021
· Francesco Gavello, Google Ads. Annunci ricerca e display. Costruisci, converti e analizza le tue campagne pubblicitarie, Flaccovio 2020
· Bonaventura di Bello, SEO e Social WordPress. Ottimizzare WordPress per posizionarsi su motori di ricerca e social media, Hoepli 2016
· How to use Mailchimp -
Assessment methods and Criteria
Attending and non-attending students: the assessment method consists in a written exam on the syllabus of the part A and in a practical case-study on the syllabus of the part B. The written exam is composed of quizzes, open-ended questions, and exercises. The assessment criteria are the capability to clearly present knowledge, the completeness of answers, the correctness of reasoning in carrying out exercises. The practical case-study consists in the analysis of a case-study assigned by the teacher. It will be delivered to the professor by the day prior to the exam, using the university email. The assessment criteria are the capability to fluidly present the knowledge and the critical positions/claims with respect to the considered case-study, the creativity in identifying suitable solutions, the pertinence in using a specialized terminology, and the attention to create an effective presentation. The final result is expressed in thirtieths, and it summarizes the results obtained in the written exam and the practical case-study.

Incoming Erasmus students can take the exam in English according to a syllabus previously endorsed and confirmed by the teacher.
The assessment methods for students with handicap and/or learning disability is case-by-case defined by the teacher with the support of the competent authority.
Unita' didattica A
INF/01 - INFORMATICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Montanelli Stefano
Unita' didattica B
INF/01 - INFORMATICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
On appointment by email
Room 7015, Dipartimento di Informatica "Giovanni degli Antoni", Via Celoria 18 - 20133 Milano