The Vatican's Apostolic Library is digitising its 80,000 historic manuscripts - equating to 40 million pages - through a sponsorship deal with EMC.
In the first instance EMC is providing 2.8 petabytes of storage to help the Vatican Apostolic Library digitise its entire catalogue of historic manuscripts and incunabula (a book or pamphlet printed before 1501).
One of the oldest libraries in the world, the Vatican Apostolic Library holds many of the rarest and most valuable documents in existence, including the 42 line Latin Bible of Gutenberg, the first book printed with movable type and dating between 1451 and 1455.
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, ensuring that the accumulated knowledge of generations is freely available for future study.
The first phase of the nine-year project will see the provision of 2.8 petabytes of storage, using EMC Atmos, Data Domain, EMC Isilon, NetWorker and VNX systems.
Key manuscripts being digitised 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; and "The Code-B", one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Greek Bible, dated to the 4th Century.
Monsignor Cesare Pasini, prefect at the Vatican Apostolic Library, said: "The Apostolic Library contains some of the oldest texts in the world that represent a priceless legacy of history and culture. It's very important that these documents are protected, and at the same time made available to scholars around the world."
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.
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