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NTT DATA to Contribute to Digital Archiving of Vatican Apostolic Library Manuscripts

NTT DATA Corporation, a global IT solutions provider, today announced it was selected to contribute to the project of digitally archiving manuscripts of the Vatican Apostolic Library. The overall project, which was started by the Vatican Apostolic Library some years ago and is currently ongoing with an initial output of 6,000 manuscripts, is intended to digitally archive all manuscripts preserved in the Library, amounting to some 82,000 specimens and 41 million pages.

NTT DATA to Contribute to Digital Archiving of Vatican Apostolic Library Manuscripts (Photo: Busines ...

NTT DATA to Contribute to Digital Archiving of Vatican Apostolic Library Manuscripts (Photo: Business Wire)

The Vatican Apostolic Library selected NTT DATA as its partner for this project based on its favorable evaluation of the company’s track record in digital archiving, as exemplified by its work at Japan’s National Diet Library, and its technological expertise and resources, including its digital archive service AMLAD™.

NTT DATA agreed to participate after spending several months extensively reviewing the overall project, including the basic parameters as well as technical and structural aspects. The company has verified that it can assimilate and optimize the systems of the Vatican Apostolic Library, and apply the methodology as a model for other projects involving the long-term preservation of digitally reproduced images.

NTT DATA will enhance current processes and developed materials by contributing a range of key services, including archiving digital manuscripts as high-definition data, supported with special measures for long-term storage and safekeeping. This will include use of a highly sustainable storage format, metadata management to increase search efficiency, optimized search algorithms and a user-friendly search interface.

The initial collaboration between the Vatican Apostolic Library and NTT DATA, worth approximately EUR 18 million (USD 22.6 million or JYP 2.3 billion), will cover about 3,000 documents over a four-year period. The project is of paramount importance for the preservation and dissemination of knowledge in the service of culture throughout the world.

“We are delighted to take part in this historic initiative led by the Vatican Apostolic Library to preserve valuable treasures of humankind,” said Toshio Iwamoto, President and CEO of NTT DATA. “Through this project, NTT DATA looks forward to contributing to art, academia and business by deploying its IT expertise on a global level.”

“We gladly accepted the collaboration of NTT DATA to support the further improvement of the project of digital archiving of our manuscripts using their innovative technologies,” explained Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library. “In so doing, we will further nurture our mission of preserving these treasures of humankind and making them more widely available and known in a deep spirit of universality—including the universality of knowledge and the universality of collaboration and agreement with institutions and companies throughout the world.”


NTT DATA is a leading IT services provider and global innovation partner headquartered in Tokyo, with business operations in over 40 countries. Our emphasis is on long-term commitment, combining global reach with local intimacy to provide premier professional services varying from consulting and systems development to outsourcing. For more information, visit www.nttdata.com.

AMLAD™ is a domestic trademark of the NTT DATA Corporation.
Any other product, corporation and organization names are registered trademarks or corporate trademarks.

About the Vatican Apostolic Library

The Vatican Apostolic Library, known as the “Popes’ library”, is located in Vatican City. Founded by Pope Nicholas V Parentucelli (1447-1455) in the antique fifteenth century palace of Popes, towards the end of Sixteenth Century, it was moved to the Sistine Hall by Pope Sixtus V Peretti (1585-1590), on the top floor of a new building built to delimit northward the Belvedere Court. The current seat, going from the pontificate of Leo XIII Pecci (1878-1903) until today, also includes other adjacent buildings into which the Library had to expand to accommodate additional acquisitions and donations of its last five-hundred-and-sixty-years history.

Rich in 82,000 manuscripts, 100,000 archival units, one million and 600,000 printed books (of which 8,700 incunabula), 400,000 coins and medals, 100,000 prints, drawings and matrices and 150,000 photographs, the Library contains a huge documentation of the humankind’s history and thinking, of arts and literature, of mathematics and science, of law and medicine, from the earliest centuries of the Christian era up to the present days, in many different languages and cultures from the Far East to the West of pre-Columbian America, as well as a humanistic background of extraordinary value.

Among significant manuscripts of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana to be digitally archived in the first phase of the project:

  • Eleven watercolor paints representing figures of Japanese dance, centuries XVI - XVIII (Vat estr.-or. 32).
  • Oath, signed by 42 Christians of Kuchinotzu (Japan), to defend their missionaries to death. The manuscript is dated 1613 ( Vat estr.-or. 33).
  • Vatican Virgil: product code in Rome around 400 AD, one of the few surviving examples of ancient illustration of a classic text . The code, studied by Raphael and purchased by Fulvio Orsini in 1579, arrived in the Vatican Library in 1600 (Vat lat. 3225).
  • Bilingual Iliad, with Greek text and Latin translation, double facing page. The manuscript, written in the fifteenth century by the Greek copyist Giovanni Rhosos and copyist from Padua Bartolomeo Sanvito was illuminated by Gaspare di Padova (Vat gr. 1626)
  • Pre-Columbian Aztec manuscript, written probably near Puebla (Mexico) at the end of the fifteenth century. The code had a ritual purpose, perhaps divination with mythological subjects, fairy tales, a calendar and family trees of the venerated gods (Borg. mess . 1: Codex Borgianus).
  • The Urbinate Bible, an undisputed masterpiece of Renaissance book art, made on behalf of Federico da Montefeltro, from the Florentine workshop of the bookseller Vespasiano da Bisticci between 1476 and 1478 (Urb lat. 1-2).
  • Illustrations of The Divine Comedy by Sandro Botticelli for Lorenzo the Magnificent, in XV century (Reg. lat. 1896 pt . A).
  • Beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript of the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides, dated between 1451 and 1475 (Ross. 498).
  • Collection of 73 fragments of the Koran Kufic (with a precious fragment ḥiǧāzī) already belonged to the antiquarian and bibliophile Tàmmaro De Marinis (Naples, 1878 - Florence 1969), who donated it to the Vatican Library in 1946 (Vat ar . 1605).

For more information: www.vaticanlibrary.va

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