Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vatican library plans to digitise 82,000 of its most valuable manuscripts

Vatican library plans to digitise 82,000 of its most valuable manuscripts
A rare Roman manuscript featuring the poems of Virgil dating back to 400AD is among thousands of historic items the Vatican’s library plans to publish online.

Vatican Apostolic Library, founded in 1451 and considered one of the world’s most important research libraries, is hoping in the next four years to archive its entire collection of 82,000 manuscripts, comprising more than 41 million pages.

The €8 million (£7 million) project will mean that the Roman Catholic Church’s most precious documents will be available to the public for the first time.

The library announced on Thursday that it will work with experts from the Japanese IT systems specialist NTT Data Corporation, to digitalise 3,000 handwritten works by 2018. While the library has already begun to digitalise around 6,000 manuscripts, the collaboration is designed to enhance current archiving methods with special measures that will improve long-term storage and safekeeping. It will also speed up search methods and broaden access for academics and scholars.

The library was founded by Pope Nicholas V in the 15th century and has one of the finest collections of manuscripts, books, photographs, coins and medals in the world.

It inspired the Renaissance master Raphael and has been kept in the Vatican library, known as the “Popes’ library”, since 1600.

Toshio Iwamoto, the president of NTT Data at the Vatican, said the project would help “preserve valuable treasures of mankind”.


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