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EMC Digitizing Apostolic Library At The Vatican

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EMC is helping digitize the Vatican Apostolic Library’s catalogue of historic manuscripts and incunabula (a book or pamphlet printed before 1501).

Working with its systems integrator partner Dedagroup, EMC will provide 2.8 petabytes of storage capacity, enough to store the 40 million pages of digitized manuscript, across EMC Isilon scale-out NAS, EMC Atmos object storage, EMC Data Domain and EMC NetWorker backup and recovery solutions and EMC VNX unified storage solutions, over the first phase of the nine-year project, which is expected to take three years.

EMC is supporting the Vatican Library’s goal of preserving in an ISO-certifiable digital format delicate texts vulnerable to deterioration and decay from repeated handling.

One of the oldest libraries in the world, the Vatican Apostolic Library holds some of the rarest documents in existence, including the 42 line Latin Bible of Gutenberg, the first book printed with movable type and dating between 1451 and 1455.

Additional manuscripts being digitized include:

  • The Sifra, a Hebrew manuscript written between the end of the 9th Century and the middle of the 10th, one of the oldest extant Hebrew codes;
  • Greek testimonies of 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.

EMC’s sponsorship forms part of its ‘Information Heritage Initiative’, which works to protect and preserve the world’s information for future generations and make it globally accessible in digital form for research and education purposes.

Past EMC Information Heritage initiatives include supporting the JFK Library (Boston, USA) in the process of digitizing and archiving its entire collection; creating a high-resolution, 3D digital reconstruction of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Codex of Flight’; supporting the Herzogin Anna Amalia Library (Weimar, Germany), home to a unique collection of Faust first editions; and sponsoring the Vatican’s Lux in Arcana exhibition, which brought into the public domain for the first time in 400 years 100 original historical documents from the Vatican Secret Archive earlier in 2012.

The current digitization project brings together a number of organizations and institutional partners, including Oxford University’s Bodleian Library, the Polonsky Foundation and the University of Heidelberg.

[Image: Pope Sixtus IV appoints Bartolomeo Platina prefect of the Vatican Library in 1477/Fresco on canvas. Courtesy: The Yorck Project/Wikimedia Commons]

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