Vatican to digitise Apostolic Library into 2.8 petabytes

7 Mar 2013

The Vatican is to embark on a major nine-year project that will see it digitise its catalogue of 80,000 historic manuscripts, 40m pages and 8,900 incunabula, as part of EMC’s Information Heritage initiative.

One of the oldest libraries in the world, the Vatican Apostolic Library holds many of the rarest and most valuable documents in existence, including the 42-line Latin Bible of Gutenberg, the first book printed with movable type and dating between 1451 and 1455.

“The Apostolic Library contains some of the oldest texts in the world that represent a priceless legacy of history and culture,” Monsignor Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, explained.

“It’s very important that these documents are protected, and at the same time made available to scholars around the world.”

Additional manuscripts being digitised include The Sifra, a Hebrew manuscript written between the end of the 9th century and the middle of the 10th, one of the oldest extant Hebrew codes, as well as Greek testimonies of the works of Homer, Sophocles, Plato and Hippocrates.

It also includes the famous incunabulum of Pius II’s De Europa, printed by Albrecht Kunne in Memmingen in around 1491 and the Code-B, one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Greek Bible, dated to the 4th century.

Working with its systems integrator partner Dedagroup, EMC will provide 2.8 petabytes of storage capacity – enough to store the 40m pages of digitised manuscript during the first three-year phase of the nine-year project.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years