Brief history

Digital University started in January 2015 as a research and innovation project co-funded by the University of Trento and CINECA. It stems from the Smart Society European project (2013-2016), which was coordinated by the University of Trento. The topics explored include: the university as a hybrid society of people and technological progress, skill-based profiling, identification of appropriate incentives, data source tracking, ethical aspects of good governance including, in particular, privacy protection.

Data storage

Data extracted from different information silos are stored and managed by Knowledge HUB, a system that aggregates and correlates data. By aggregation, we mean the process of migration (copy and indexing) of data to a single data base under a unique new format. By correlation, we mean the process by which data on the same subject, initially scattered in different archives, are interconnected. With this technology, for example, we can retrieve and connect data about a professor and his or her publications, courses, projects, from different data sources.

Data is initially organized in a knowledge graph. The nodes of the graph correspond to the various managed objects (people, publications, courses, projects, locations), and arcs represent the relations between them (author, professor, coordinator). Knowledge graphs are at the basis of successful systems like Google (data displayed on the right of the page) and Facebook (users profile data and friendship graph). Data is retrieved from the Knowledge HUB and used to support the services.


The system has been designed following privacy-by-design methodologies, that is, by considering privacy as a fundamental design requirement. Information is managed in full compliance with privacy and intellectual property laws. The applications developed are designed to be in line with the purposes of the data of information systems at the source.
For more information, please refer to the notice associated to each service.


Article: Maltese Vincenzo, Giunchiglia Fausto. Foundations of Digital Universities. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 1, 26-50, 2017.