Vatican and Bodleian Libraries to Digitize Ancient Texts

The Vatican Library and Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries have announced a plan to digitize many of the Vatican’s ancient text collections.

The project, which will be undertaken in collaboration with Oxford’s Bodleian Library and supported by a $3.2 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation, will make some 1.5 million digitized pages freely available online from the two institutions’ collections of Greek manuscripts, 15th-century incunabula, Hebrew manuscripts (including a 9th-century manuscript believed to be the earliest surviving Hebrew codex), and early printed books.

“Two of the oldest libraries in Europe will join forces in an innovative approach to digitization driven by the actual needs of scholars and scholarship,” Monsignor Cesare Pasini, the Prefect of the Vatican Library said in a statement, calling the project “a great step forward in the Vatican Library’s entry into the digital age.”

The Vatican Library reopened in 2010 after much-needed renovations. Its collections contain more than 180,000 manuscripts, 1.6 million printed book, 300,000 coins and medals, and 150,000 prints, drawings and engravings, according to the New York Times.

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