Japanese IT firm to digitize Vatican manuscripts

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Associated Press

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 8:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 20 at 9:06 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Japanese information technology company has agreed to digitize 3,000 Vatican manuscripts in a deal to make some of the Catholic Church's most historic documents available online.

The Vatican Apostolic Library says it hopes Thursday's announced agreement with Tokyo-based NTT DATA Corp. would protect fragile manuscripts for perusal by scholars worldwide.

NTT DATA said it would digitize 3,000 manuscripts totaling 1.5 million pages over the next four years in a contract worth 18 million euros ($22.6 million).

The company's president, Toshio Iwamoto, told a Vatican press conference he hoped NTT ultimately would make 82,000 manuscripts totaling 41 million pages accessible by computer.

The Vatican Library, founded in 1451, is one of the world's most important research libraries. It has 180,000 manuscripts, 1.6 million books and 150,000 prints, drawings and engravings.

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