Vatican library will digitize its archive and put them online

Vatican library will digitize its archive and put them online

DIGITIZED: An Aztec calendar, from the Codex Borgianus Mexicanus is seen at the Vatican in this March 20, handout released by Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Photo: Reuters

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – 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.

The Vatican library dates from the late 14th century and forms one of the world’s most important collections of historical documents.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 (15.16 million pounds), is expected to cover some 3,000 handwritten documents over a four-year period, NTT said.

(Reporting by Antonio Denti; Editing by Larry King)

Recent Headlines

in Music

Judas Priest star wants to rock out with Lady Gaga


Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford is keen for an odd collaboration with the "Poker Face" hitmaker.

in Black Friday, Viral Videos

WATCH: What ‘Black Friday’ would look like as a scary movie


Black Friday would be a scary shopping experience if it got the Hollywood treatment.

in Music

Tony Iommi teases fans with new songs


The Black Sabbath rocker wants to release five unheard songs by the band just weeks after they scrapped plans for another album.

in Music

Metallica looking forward to baseball season


The San Francisco Giants will hold Metallica Night for the fourth year on May 6.

in Music

Hinder back on the road after bus crash


The band was forced to postpone a string of dates following the accident in Tennessee, which left bass player Mike Rodden and two road crew members in hospital.