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Vatican to digitize ancient archives and put them online

/ Source: Reuters
An illustration of the Dante's Divina Commedia realized by artist Sandro Botticelli in the XV century is seen at the Vatican in this March 20, 2014 handout released by Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Apostolic Library). The Vatican library launched a four-year project on Thursday with Japanese technology group NTT Data to digitalise 82,000 manuscripts ranging from the origins of the Church to the 20th century. The Vatican library, dating back to the late 14th century, holds one of the most important collections of historical documents in the world, including 1.6 million books, large coin and picture collections as well as its manuscript archives.
An illustration of the Dante's Divina Commedia realized by artist Sandro Botticelli in the XV century is seen at the Vatican in this March 20, 2014 handout released by Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Apostolic Library). The Vatican library launched a four-year project on Thursday with Japanese technology group NTT Data to digitalise 82,000 manuscripts ranging from the origins of the Church to the 20th century. The Vatican library, dating back to the late 14th century, holds one of the most important collections of historical documents in the world, including 1.6 million books, large coin and picture collections as well as its manuscript archives.Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana via Reuters

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican library began a project on Thursday to digitize thousands of historical manuscripts, dating from the origins of the Church to the 20th century, and make them available online.

Working with the Japanese technology group NTT Data, the library intends to scan and digitally archive about 1.5 million pages from the library's collection of manuscripts, which comprises some 82,000 items and 41 million pages. The initial project will take four years and may be extended.

Image: A woman is seen as she works with a scanner in the Vatican Library at the Vatican
The Vatican library's four-year project will digitize 82,000 manuscripts ranging from the origins of the Church to the 20th century.Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana VIA Reuters

The Vatican library dates from the late 14th century and forms one of the world's most important collections of historical documents. It includes 1.6 million books and large coin and picture collections as well as its manuscript archives.

"The manuscripts that will be digitized extend from pre-Columbian America to China and Japan in the Far East, passing through all the languages and cultures that have marked the culture of Europe," said Monsignor Jean-Louis Brugues, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church.

The library will use NTT scanners to record the manuscripts and archive software to manage the collection. Technicians from the Japanese company will work alongside Vatican librarians.

"At the end of the four years, the involvement of NTT could lead to a further phase of engagement which could cover the entire collection," said Monsignor Cesare Pasini, prefect of the library.

NTT is donating the equipment and the work of its technicians. The initial phase of the operation, worth some 18 million euros ($24 million), is expected to cover some 3,000 handwritten documents over a four-year period, NTT said.

— Reuters

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