First of Vatican Library's Digitized Manuscripts Now Available Online

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Fiat lux! The Vatican Library has spent the past seven months digitizing thousands of historical manuscripts, and the first documents appeared online this week for free viewing.

The Vatican announced the massive project in March, and Business Insider spotted the first batch of documents released online. Japanese technology firm NTT Data has been working with the library to scan and digitally archive about 1.5 million pages from the library's collection of 82,000 manuscripts dating from the origins of the Church to the 20th century. The initial partnership with NTT Data will take about four years, and it may be extended.

The project offers a featured collection page and also lets users browse through all documents that are currently available to view, which include not only manuscripts but scans of Chinese woodcuts and ancient coins. As of Friday morning eastern time, the project's site said 4,415 items have been digitized so far.


--- Julianne Pepitone