Vatican Library will digitize its books by 2018

Vatican City (Thursday, 10.23.2014, Gaudium Press) A few years ago, the Vatican Library has begun to digitize its books and manuscripts. By the year 2018, approximately 3000 books and 18 manuscripts are to be seen on line.

The Vatican Library was founded in 1451 by Pope Nicholas V to the “common convenience of the wise” and holds 180,000 manuscripts, 1.6 million books and 150,000 prints, drawings and engravings.

In March, Japanese IT firm NTT DATA Corp won a four-year, $23 million contract to digitize the first 3000 manuscripts, totalling 1.5 million pages.

The first 500 manuscripts are now available to view, along with 600 incunabula – books or pamphlets printed before 1500 AD.

Monsignor Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Library, called the project a “real effort towards the conservation and dissemination of knowledge and culture around the world,” as he writes in the library site, stating that the project could enfold 40 million digitized pages.

The General Director of the NTT Group, Toshio Iwamoto, declare his enthusiasm for knowing that “these ancient manuscripts are now accessible in digital format in high definition to a broad audience worldwide,” In the Vatican Library site (www.vaticanlibrary.va) those interested may check out the eight manuscripts which have been already scanned.

According to Iwamoto, the agreement between the Japanese group and the Vatican Library involves scanning the entire collection; most of the books date from the II to the XX Century. (LMI)

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