Vatican library to digitise 80,000 mss

The story is here.

This project may be achieved over a span of 10 years divided into three phases, with possible intervals between them. In a preliminary phase the involvement of 60 people is planned, including photographers and conservator-verifiers, in the second and third phases at least 120. Before being able to initiate an undertaking of this kind, which is causing some anxiety to those in charge of the library (and not only to them!), naturally it will be necessary to find the funds. Moves have already been made in this direction with some positive results.


7 thoughts on “Vatican library to digitise 80,000 mss

  1. This is most welcome news. The Vatican has so many manuscripts from the East, particularly Egypt(collected in many instances in ways unbecoming), which are not available elsewhere, but access to them has hitherto been so difficult. Those interested in the literature of the Copts (whether in Greek, Coptic, or Arabic) will regard it as a great leap forward in facilitating Coptic studies. Well done Papa!

  2. They say 45Pb, and express awe. 1Pb = 1,000 terabytes. 1Tb = 1,000Gb. My PC has a 500Gb drive. 1Tb drives can be bought cheaply.

    So they’re saying they need 45,000 1Tb drives. That is a lot; but it won’t be in 10 years.

  3. Well, that’s assuming that the Vatican staff doesn’t take off Wednesdays, the summer months, the days they don’t feel like coming in….

    Heh. I hear that the Vatican Library staff aren’t so much like the rest of the Curia staff, actually. But they are understaffed and underfunded compared to how much needs to be done, just with figuring out what all they’ve got. So I’m sure they do need money.

    “Friends of the Vatican Library” is a very good cause; and if you join up and donate a bunch, you get to go on trips behind the scenes.

    I guess there are other Friends groups in other countries, but they didn’t come up as quickly as the US one.

  4. Interesting – thank you!

    I was scanning something while I wrote the post — it is really quite difficult typing with one hand with boxes popping up as you do so! But I meant to say that this is one of the most important events of our time; the mass digitisation of unique material of endless importance for the study of the ancient world in general and patristics and orientalism in particular.

    The prefect deserves all credit. It is a fabulous thing to do.

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