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The Vatican Library to digitalize 80,000 manuscripts

The operational phase of the digitalization process is about to kick off, in collaboration with Emc and Dedanext: about 40 million pages will be photographed at very high resolution and archived in a format suitable to both conservation and consultation

Vatican Apostolic Library
Vatican Apostolic Library

Over 80,000 manuscripts with about 40 million pages: these are the invaluable holdings of the Vatican Apostolic Library, which has recently approved - with Emc and Dedanext, part of Dedagroup Ict Network – a project to digitalize library holdings. The Vatican Library project is part of the broader “Information Heritage” initiative, which aims to protect information and documents of relevance by making them available in digital format for education and research purposes.
Preserving the Library’s collections over time and making them accessible through the use of innovative storage platforms: the multi-year digitalisation project will make it easier to consult the library’s holdings, much as in the past information was preserved and passed on thanks to the printing press and the work of amanuenses. 
After several years of preliminary studies, the programme now enters the operational phase. Data will be archived using the Flexible Image Transport System (Fits) open standard format, which is already in use in scientific fields such as astrophysics and medicine. This format was chosen because it guarantees maximum reproducibility over time and is compatible with numerous applications. Each individual page will be photographed at very high resolution and archived in a format suitable to both conservation and consultation.
The initial implementation phase will last about three years, during which time Emc will provide a total storage capacity of 2.8 Petabytes, using leading platforms such as Isilon, Atmos, Data Domain, NetWorker and VNX. During this phase, Emc will be assisted by technological partners Dedanext and Dedagroup, who will be in charge of the project design phase and the implementation of the company’s storage platforms.

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