Monday, 7 April 2014

TUESDAY NEWS DAY: DIGITIZATION AND THE GOOD BOOK

BY ALEXANDRA JEFFERY

I'm busy, you're busy. Let's keep this brief shall we? Just a little news, kind of old news now, for this Tuesday.

The Biblioteca Apostolica Vatinica. Image from Getty

As some of you have probably already heard/read/seen the Vatican is embarking on a digitization project to eventually (hopefully) make 82,000 manuscripts available online (I hope the website will be updated as well, it must be c. 1993, there can be no other explanation for how bad it is).


An illustration of the Dante's Divina Commedia realized by artist Sandro Botticelli 
in the XV century recently digitalised 
Image from
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana/Reuters

The project will start with 3,000 documents. The price of the digitization will fall to Japan's NTT Data technology. In order to carry out the project the  library will be using NTT scanners to record the manuscripts and archive software to manage the collection. NTT will also provide company technicians to work alongside the librarians. The prefect of the library, Monsignor Cesare Pasini, has said that participation of NTT could lead to further engagements which could cover the entire collection.

Monsignor Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.
Image from the Vatican Library Website

This digitization project comes on the heels of another project undertaken in partnership with the Bodleian library at Oxford to digitize manuscripts, started in 2013, their commitment is to have 1.5 meters of documents digitized.

10th century Greek Bible Reginensis Graecus held at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
is famous for its "splendid" miniatures. Image.

I have to say I'm pretty JAZZED about this, it's like the Vatican is giving away all their secrets but FOR FREE and in a computer. Of course there's the whole corporate funding of a religious library. I feel like there's something odd about that but it kind of just fits in with other cultural institutions needing funding from corporate bodies.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel as if Aladdin's Catholic cave is going to be revealed to you? OPEN SESAME.

1 comment:

  1. When I first heard of this on the news a day ago, I have to admit, I felt ecstatic. The largest repository of medieval works has just been opened to the public! And being a history buff myself, this is just the mother lode of all resources. It appears that the Vatican is just following the trends of the digital age; this would have been unthinkable a few years earlier.

    Curtis @ Spectrum Information

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