An established Japanese technology is at the back of a project to allow a prosperous collection of valuable drawings and manuscripts to run online for free that are tucked inside the almost 600-year-old Vatican Apostolic Library.
The papal library that holds cultural documents such as notes by Michelangelo and Galileo, is at the forefront of a high-tech experiment to marry its ancient texts with digital technology, with the help of Japanese IT services group NTT Data. The unusual cross-border project is in turn opening the doors of NTT Data’s low-profile digital archive business to big opportunities overseas.
The attempt comes as libraries, museums and research institutions worldwide are fighting against time to preserve ageing collections. Since 2010, the Vatican library also has been studying ways to protect its historical archives while making it easier for people across the globe to access them.
The chief information officer of the library, Mr. Luciano Ammenti, stated that the manuscripts are for all the people, not only for the Vatican library.
Two and a half years ago, the Vatican library approached NTT Data about its technology. The company has been applying its cloud computing service for about a decade to help Japanese libraries preserve and store their ageing manuscripts and texts in digital form.
At present, there are digitized images of 4,400 ancient manuscripts on the library’s website that can be viewed for free including a 1,600-year-old manuscript showing the work of Roman poet Virgil that was studied by Raphael, and 400-year-old paintings of traditional Japanese dance.