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Video: A Demonstration on How the Vatican is Digitizing its Sacred Texts

Digital access to the vatican’s vast collection of old manuscripts are slowly becoming more accessible thanks to a four year collaboration between the church and Japanese digital technology group, NTT Data. In the video below of the announcement, you can see some of that process. It’s pretty fascinating, especially if you like old, dusty pages, or if you’ve never seen the interior of the Vatican library, where the physical manuscripts actually live.

It’s not in English so we’ve also shared the translated texts of the transcript below, after the jump.

‘Today, NTT DATA and the Vatican Apostolic Library agreed upon and signed the initial contract for participating in the operation that will ultimately digitise and preserve about 80,000 volumes and 41 million pages of manuscripts that can be considered part of the historical heritage of humanity, dating back from between the second and the twentieth centuries AD,” President of NTT Data, Toshio Iwamoto told a news conference at the Vatican.

”I make the promise that, as a company with a distinguished track record, we will make full use of our technologies and that each and every employee will be fully committed to the mission of preserving these manuscripts of incalculable value for future generations. It is a great honour for NTT DATA to take part in such a significant historical operation” Iwamoto said.

Under the accord, the library will use advanced NTT scanners to record some 41 million pages of manuscripts as well as archive software to manage the collection with technicians from the Japanese company working alongside Vatican librarians.

”The scanning will be carried out by NTT DATA personnel operating inside the Vatican Library. The manuscripts will never be moved, they’ll remain at all times inside the Vatican Library. Our personnel has been trained, and will continue to be trained, on how to handle these documents, that are extremely delicate, by experts of the Vatican Library itself” explained Patrizio Mapelli, CEO of NTT Europe.

”By adding the 3,000 manuscripts included in the first stage of our cooperation with NTT DATA, in four-years time our estimate is that we could reach the number of 15,000 digitised manuscripts, out of 80,000 – 82,000. This would be a great achievement in favour of the preservation and diffusion of knowledge, in service of culture, for the whole world” said Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Library.”

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