Illustration from an ancient codex realised in Rome in 400AD is one of the many items that are being scanned and uploaded online by Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Apostolic Library). - Reuters/Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
The Vatican library launches a project to digitise 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 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The Vatican library dates from the late 14th century and forms one of the world’s most important collections of historical documents.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 digitised 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.