Vatican Library Goes Digital Under New Pope

The Vatican Library (Vatican Library)

Pope Francis isn’t the only newcomer to the Vatican. New technology has also found its way inside the ancient institution. Cloud computing corporation EMC recently announced that it will soon begin the process of digitalizing the Vatican Apostolic Library.

EMC said it will spearhead the collaborative effort to preserve the 40 million pages of the Vatican Library in an ISO-certifiable digital format. The high-tech makeover of the Vatican library will likely take nine years to complete. The catalogue includes 80,000 historic manuscripts and 8,900 incunabula, or books and pamphlets published before 1501.

Among the works to be digitalized is the Gutenberg Latin Bible, which dates from 1451 and was the first book ever printed with moveable type. Other historically important manuscripts include the ancient 9th century Hebrew Sifra, a Greek Bible from the 4th century, and Greek testimonies of the works of Homer, Sophocles, Plato, and Hippocrates.

“The Apostolic Library contains some of the oldest texts in the world that represent a priceless legacy of history and culture,” said Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library. “It’s very important that these documents are protected, and at the same time made available to scholars around the world.”

The first phase of the digitalization process is due to take three years to complete and will provide the 2.8 petabytes of storage capacity.

“The Apostolic Library is one of the oldest libraries in the world,” said Michele Liberato, President of EMC Italy, “And we have a duty to ensure that the knowledge and beauty of the manuscripts in it are available to all in the future.”

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