May 22, 2022

A Look at The Vatican Library’s Mass Digitization Project

Some interesting background about The Vatican Library mass digitization project that released some material (256 manuscripts) in late January.

From The Star (Toronto):

Little things slow down the process of putting 40 million pages of ancient manuscripts in the Vatican Library online: gold or silver in the illuminations, bindings that disintegrate if you open them, getting the synergy right.

“It is important to realize if there is gold or silver in a manuscript. That requires a very particular process because the light will be different,” said Luciano Ammenti, who is in charge of IT at the Vatican and the project to digitize the storied library’s 82,000 manuscripts.

The project, finally up and running a year after its announcement, uses an armada of equipment to capture the vast range of pages amassed by the Vatican over five or six centuries into one of the world’s most valuable collection of books and manuscripts.


With 2.8 petabytes of storage from global data company EMC, the Vatican Library had to decide where to begin. In all, said Ammenti, the collection will take 43 petabytes of storage.


They include the Vatican’s 8,900 incunabula (books printed before 1501): the Sifra, a Hebrew manuscript written a millennia ago, a 4th century manuscript of the Greek Bible and the De Europa of Pope Pius II, printed around 1491.

Read the Complete Article

Direct to 256 Digitized Manuscripts

See Also: EMC Providing Vatican Apostolic Library With 2.8 Petabytes of Storage to Digitally Preserve Entire Catalogue of Historic Manuscripts and Incunabula

See Also:  Vatican’s Library begins to Digitize 80,000 of Its Manuscripts With NASA Technology (Video) (December 10, 2011)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.