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Vatican Library Begins Digitizing Its Collection Of Ancient Manuscripts

codexBut will some documents be kept secret? The BBC reports:

The Vatican Library has begun digitising its priceless collection of ancient manuscripts dating from the origins of the Church.

The first stage of the project will cover some 3,000 handwritten documents over the next four years. The cost – more than $20m – will be borne by Japan’s NTT Data technology company. Eventually, the library hopes to make available online all its 82,000 manuscripts.

The 3,000 documents to be scanned digitally over the next four years include copies of works of classical Greek and Latin literature and mediaeval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts.

The library, founded by a 15th Century Pope, also contains important works of mathematics and science, law and medicine from earliest times up to the present day.

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Vatican Library To Digitalize Its 82,000-Manuscript Collection For Online Viewing

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Soon anyone with an internet connection will be able to access millennia-old texts previously available only to 200 scholars in Rome. Are secrets waiting to be uncovered? The Toronto Star writes:

With 2.8 petabytes of storage from global data company EMC, the Vatican Library had to decide where to begin. In all, the collection will take 43 petabytes of storage.

“We start with the most delicate, the books that are in a critical situation for conservation,” said Luciano Ammenti, who is in charge of IT at the Vatican.

They include the Vatican’s 8,900 incunabula (books printed before 1501): the Sifra, a Hebrew manuscript written a millennia ago, a 4th century manuscript of the Greek Bible and the De Europa of Pope Pius II, printed around 1491.

“People often think the Vatican Library is a place where secrets are kept,” said scriptor graecus Timothy Janz. Once digitization opens the library to the world, “many things that remain to be discovered will be found.”

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