The Vatican Library Goes Digital

EMC Provides 2.8 Petabytes to Store Digitized Versions of Rare Sacred Texts


As the cardinals of the Roman Catholic church gather to elect a new pope, there’s also major change underway in another part of the Vatican.

As 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. EMC announced that it is providing 2.8 petabytes of storage to support the Vatican Library digitize its catalogue of 80,000 historic manuscripts and 8,900 “incunabula” (a book printed before 1501).

EMC will help the Vatican  preserve delicate texts in an ISO-certifiable digital format to protect these manuscripts from deterioration and decay from repeated handling. This process will result in 40 million pages preserved in digital reproductions. Working with its systems integrator partner Dedagroup, EMC will provide 2.8 petabytes of storage capacity across its various storage solutions over the first phase of the nine-year project, which is expected to take three years.

“The Apostolic Library contains some of the oldest texts in the world that represent a priceless legacy of history and culture,” said Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library. “It’s very important that these documents are protected, and at the same time made available to scholars around the world. Thanks to the generosity and expertise of supporters such as EMC we are able to meet these goals, preserving a treasure-trove of rare and unique texts in a format that will not suffer from the passage of time.”

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.

“To manage and protect information is part of our mission,” said Michele Liberato, President, EMC Italy. “The Apostolic Library is one of the oldest libraries in the world and we have a duty to ensure that the knowledge and beauty of the manuscripts in it are available to all in the future. This project will help to preserve and make available a unique heritage of knowledge.”