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Vatican's ancient library is set to go digital


A hall in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, at a reception for new cardinals, November 24, 2012.


Jason Berry

Religious scholars, rejoice: a look at the Vatican's massive library will no longer require a plane trip to Rome after a massive, 40-million-page digitization project is completed.

The Vatican Apostolic Library was founded around 1448 is composed of 1.1 million printed books, 80,000 codices, and hundreds of other literary works, and will require 2.8 pedabytes to store, which has been donated by cloud computing specialists The EMC Corporation, notes The Next

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Catholic World News notes that plans to digitize the library were announced last year by the Boldeian Libraries at Oxford and the Vatican Library, though concrete plans to carry out the project weren't clear until now. The project will likely take around 9 years to complete.

Just how much is 2.8 pedabytes? One pedabyte is equivalent to around a million gigabytes and around a thousand terabytes, meaning that the Vatican library will require a truly massive amount of digital storage.

“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," said EMC Italy president Michele Liberato of the undertaking to "This project will help to preserve and make available a unique heritage of knowledge."

Some of the world famous documents to be uploaded include Greek testimonies of Homer, Plato, and Socrates (among others), the famous Hebrew manuscript known as the Sifra, and an incunabulum (book printed prior to 1521) of Pius II's 1491 De Europa.