Skip to comments.Digitizing history: 82,000-manuscript collection Vatican Library goes online
Posted on 05/04/2013 3:28:20 AM PDT by NYer
Little things slow down the process of putting 40 million pages of ancient manuscripts in the Vatican Library online: gold or silver in the illuminations, bindings that disintegrate if you open them, getting the synergy right.
“It is important to realize if there is gold or silver in a manuscript. That requires a very particular process because the light will be different,” said Luciano Ammenti, who is in charge of IT at the Vatican and the project to digitize the storied library’s 82,000 manuscripts.
The project, finally up and running a year after its announcement, uses an armada of equipment to capture the vast range of pages amassed by the Vatican over five or six centuries into one of the world’s most valuable collection of books and manuscripts.
But synergy trumps sharpness.
“It is the right synergy between sensors, optics and lighting, together with the highest possible resolution,” the Vatican website explained.
So the high tech systems include “cradles” which allow the book to open to less than 180 degrees on its own, without contact and without glass plates.”
With 2.8 petabytes of storage from global data company EMC, the Vatican Library had to decide where to begin. In all, said Ammenti, the collection will take 43 petabytes of storage.
“We start with the most delicate, the books that are in a critical situation for conservation.”
They include the Vatican’s 8,900 incunabula (books printed before 1501): the Sifra, a Hebrew manuscript written a millennia ago, a 4th century manuscript of the Greek Bible and the De Europa of Pope Pius II, printed around 1491.
“This is our dream, to give all the world access to our manuscripts,” Ammenti said.
“People often think the Vatican Library is a place where secrets are kept,” said Timothy Janz, scriptor graecus or specialist in Greek paleography, philology and history.
Once digitization opens the library to the world, rather than just to 200 scholars at a time in Rome, “many things that remain to be discovered will be found,” said Janz.
Ammenti’s staff of 15 digital archivists can, on a good day, scan one page a minute once all the equipment is in place. Because of the intensity of the process, however, they only work directly on the manuscripts for four and a half hours, he said.
The team uses eight different types of scanners and four varieties of digital cameras to deal with the fragile and rare texts. None is automatic.
The project got its kickstart with a $3 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation and posted its first digitized results, a series of 300 14th century German volumes, in January.
Of possible interest to your list, ping!
What about the Pope’s SECRET library?
Union shop, apparently.
With the old books, think of it as doing restoration of fine art or doing surgery on patients — it takes intensive attention to detail that can only be mustered by individuals for so long...
( btw, impressive profile info .. a belated 'welcome to FR', sir )
The burned books will of course not be in the digitized collection
The pope has a secret library? Where did you hear that?
I saw it on the internet. Must be true.
Perhaps you are referring to the Vatican Secret Archives? The use of the word "secret" in the title "Vatican Secret Archives" does not denote the modern meaning of confidentiality. Its meaning is closer to that of the word "private", indicating that the archives are the Pope's personal property, not belonging to those of any particular department of the Roman Curia or the Holy See. The word "secret" was generally used in this sense as also reflected in phrases such as "secret servants", "secret cupbearer", "secret carver", much like an esteemed position of honor and regard comparable to a VIP.
If that is the case, then here is the link. Note, however, when you click on the "secret archives", it takes you to Pope Francis' home page. Here you will be able to read through his homilies, letters, etc. As he begins to meet with more delegates, travel and write encyclicals, you will find these posted at the "secret archives" link.
Looks like I am going to have to get Rosetta Latin.
I hear that the Federal Government is going to digitize all US history and put it on a whole CD!! LOL
That’s what I meant. Thanks for the link.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Thanks, Tomkat.... Sorry I wasn’t firing on all three humor cylinders....Thanks for the kind welcome also!