Ancient manuscripts in the Vatican library penned from East Asia to
the Pre-Colombian Americas will be digitised by a Japanese company as
part of a global project to make the collection available for free
viewing by the public.
Japan’s NTT DATA will digitise 3,000 historical works and put them
online over a four-year period in an initiative costing 18 million
euros (US$22.6 million), the company said at a press conference in the
Vatican on Thursday.
“The manuscripts to be digitised go from the Pre-Colombian American
period to the Chinese and Japanese East Asia, passing through all the
languages and cultures which have animated Europe,” the Vatican’s
librarian and archivist Jean-Louis Brugues said.
The library began digitising its books a couple of years ago and the
deal with NTT DATA will bring the total of manuscripts converted to
15,000 by 2018.
NTT DATA’s head Toshio Iwamoto said the company was eager to
participate “in an operation which will lead to the digitisation and
preservation of some 80,000 books and 41 million pages which could be
considered as global heritage, written between the second and 20th
The company is active in over 40 countries and is experienced in
digitising rare manuscripts.
Brugues underlined the Holy See’s desire “to make the immense treasure
entrusted to it available, by offering free consultation on the