There’s been a bit of buzz at the Vatican lately, with Pope Francis greeting his followers as the successor to Benedict, and one stressed out IT manager who is trying hard not to hurt a very old set of books. The Apostolic Library, seen by many religious organizations around the world to be one of the largest and most extensive collections of religious literature that exists in modern society, is going digital.
The project will take nine years in total, and involve the photographing and careful recording of over 90,000 documents, including the Guttenberg Bible, which was one of the first books ever printed on movable type. A data storage and information technology company EMC has made this possible through a 2.8 petabyte donation, although in what format those bytes will come in has yet to be established.
According to The Verge, other classic works will include:
- The Sifra, a Hebrew manuscript written between the end of the 9th Century and the middle of the 10th, one of the oldest Hebrew codes in existence
- Greek testimonies on the works of Homer, Sophocles, Plato and Hippocrates
- The famous incunabulum of Pius II’s De Europa, printed by Albrecht Kunne in Memmingen in around 1491
- The Code-B, one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Greek Bible, dated to the 4th Century.
This is not the company’s first foray into historic preservation however, as they also assisted in creating a 3D digital reconstruction of a piece by Leonardo Da Vinci back in 2009, and have proven themselves capable of handling artifacts with care.
The initial stages of the project are expected to take about three years, and the Vatican hasn’t announced anything beyond what will happen after that.