by the Team with Katia Ferrante

Ntt Data and Canon together to digitize the Vatican Library.

The agreement signed between the two companies, Digita vaticana and the Apostolic Library, will create faithful reproductions of a rare 1,600-year-old manuscript, Folio 22 recto by the Vatican Virgil. The first 200 people and organizations who make a donation of 500 euros or more to support the digitization project of the library’s manuscripts will receive the text in digital format in return.
The Vatican Virgil, one of the oldest manuscripts, dates back to 400 AD. and contains fragments of Virgil’s Aeneid and Georgics, with 76 pages and 50 illustrations. Folio 22 recto also contains an illustration of the main work of the Latin poet in which Creusa tries to keep her husband Aeneas from the battle.

“The reproductions, explain the companies involved in the project, “will give the impression of having the original work in hand”. Donations can be made through Digita Vaticana, the non-profit association that collects funds for the digitization of the Vatican Library. The document digitization process uses Ntt Data technology, which has been collaborating with the Vatican since April 2014, aims to preserve approximately 3,000 ancient manuscripts and make them available to scholars and users around the world.


The method used is interesting. First, a format created by NASA for the long-term storage of images and data of astronomy and space astrophysics has been adopted.

Then, thanks to the technological support of NTT DATA for the scanning in very high definition of the documents, the file for the production process was created, based on a special 3D printing technique developed by Canon.



DigiVatLib is a digital library service. It provides free access to the Vatican Library’s digitized collections: manuscripts, incunabula, archival materials and inventories as well as graphic materials, coins and medals, printed materials (special projects).

DigiVatLib is based on the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) technology, making digital materials easily accessible and usable.

DigiVatLib provides the following facilities:

Display functions: The viewer is able to zoom, browse and ‘turn pages’ of JPEG2000 images as well as allow scholars to compare digital objects from different IIIF repositories of other digital libraries.

Search and discovery collections: Descriptions and bibliographic references from the online catalogues are indexed and linked to digital materials. The guided navigation (‘faceted search’) leverages metadata elements for narrowing or refining queries.
An enhancement of search functions is scheduled for the next release.

Digital galleriesSelected Manuscripts – a selection of digitized materials from the most significant manuscripts.
Latest Digitized Manuscripts – a gallery of the latest 20 digitized codices.

Digita Vaticana: The digitization project of the Vatican manuscripts

From 2013 until February 2019, Digita Vaticana was the non-profit association founded to raise funds to support the Digitization Project of the over 80,000 manuscripts of the Apostolic Library.

The legacy of the Association has now passed to the Library and now the name Digita Vaticana designates the Project itself, created by the Library with the help of many benefactors.


Toru Francis Yamashita

“Digitization is a great opportunity to protect ancient volumes by minimizing the need for direct consultation of the originals, it is a guarantee of high quality reproduction and as faithful as possible to the originals before their possible degradation, it is a tool to make what it is a world heritage site that is immediately accessible online and available, free of charge, to all – emphasizes Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library – We believe that digitalization, set with seriousness and competence, is a new way of preserving, which allows a service even better thanks to important partners such as Digita Vaticana ”.

We would like to thank the Association, its Founding Members and all those who have participated in the success of the objectives achieved so far.


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