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Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Vatican City, 3 December 2013 (VIS) – The Vatican Apostolic Library (BAV) and the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford have joined forces to digitalise and make available online some of the most important and unique Bibles in the world, as well as biblical texts from their collections. From today, 3 December, the digitalised texts can be accessed at http://bav.bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

The initiative is the first step of an important four-year collaborative project for the publication of digital content on the internet. A committee of academics and experts from around the world has selected for digitalisation a part of the collection of manuscripts in Hebrew and Greek, as well as incunabula from the Bodleian and Vatican Apostolic Libraries. The selection process has taken into account both the requirements of scholars and practical needs. Restorers from both libraries have collaborated with conservators to ascertain not only the value of the contents, but also the conditions of preservation of the works.

Although for some years now the two institutions have digitally reproduced part of their collections, this project provides them both with the opportunity to increase the scale and numerical capacity of the volumes digitalised, while taking care not to expose the works, very delicate on account of their age and conservational condition, to risk of damage.

The website, just opened, provides high-resolution scale images permitting detailed study and scientific analysis. The site includes also hosts videos and essays by scholars and supporters of the digitalisation project, including Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church and Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby. A blog with articles on conservation, digitalisation techniques and methods used during the project completes the site, which may be viewed in both English and Italian.

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