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October 20, 2014

Vatican manuscripts now available online

Public can view the ancient scripts for free on the Library’s website.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

The Vatican Library has made thousands of historical manuscripts, dating from the origins of the Church to the 20th century, available online.

In a partnership with Japanese IT group NTT Data, the library has deployed an application to allow members of the public to view reproductions of more than 4,000 ancient manuscripts on the Library’s website for free.

NTT Data said the high-definition images can be examined using a special viewer built with the firm’s digital archive technology, called AMLAD.


The viewer, which has interfaces for multiple types of devices, including tablets, provides easy access to millions of pages from the priceless manuscripts, according to the NTT Data.

The announcement comes after the two parties signed an initial four-year contract 3,000 handwritten documents over a four-year period back in March this year.

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"We are truly excited to see these high-resolution digitally formatted ancient manuscripts made readily and widely accessible to people worldwide," said NTT Data’s CEO Toshio Iwamoto.

"We will continue to leverage our IT solution technologies to help advance research in diverse academic disciplines and satisfy people’s curiosity about these irreplaceable manuscripts."

Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, added: "We gladly accepted the collaboration of NTT DATA to support the further improvement of the project of digital archiving of our manuscripts using their innovative technologies.

"In so doing, we will further nurture our mission of making these treasures of humankind more widely known, in a profound spirit of universality — in terms of both knowledge and collaboration with institutions and companies throughout the world."

The Vatican library, which dates from the late 14th century, includes 1.6 million books and large coin and picture collections as well as its manuscript archives.

In July, it became the first customer to purchase EMC’s Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) technology.

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