Feeds

Holy crap! EMC gives Vatican Library 2.8PB to store manuscripts

NOT on the cloud, we note....

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Vatican Library is losing its walls. Its 89,000 historic manuscripts are being made available online for access by scholars world-wide courtesy of EMC.

The library, properly known as the Vatican Apostolic Library, is located in the Vatican City and is one of the oldest libraries in the world, established formally in 1475 but thought to have functioned for a long time before that. The library's function is to be a resource for scholars researching history, law, philosophy, science and theology.

The Abyss of Hell

The Abyss of Hell by Sandro Botticelli in the Vatican Library

It stores some 89,000 manuscripts, including 8,900 incunabula, manuscripts printed before 1501 in Europe. The Vatican collection of these is the fourth largest in the world. It also holds some 5,000 Greek manuscripts, with authors such Homer, Sophocles, Plato, and Hippocrates, and which include New Testament manuscripts. Many of these Greek documents are decorated with Byzantine miniatures. Its most famous book is possibly the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, the earliest almost complete bible which dates from the 4th century.

A great many manuscripts in the library have not been formally catalogued and so much remains to be discovered, such as, possibly, unknown historical texts by Aristotle or Cicero. Digitisation will aid this because more scholars will be able to access the library's resources.

The first digitisation plans were announced in 2012, and involved a million and a half pages of material, collaboration with the UK's Bodleian Library, and a grant of £2 million from the Polonsky Foundation in London. Now it's up to 40 million pages in the first 3-year phase of a 9-year project.

EMC Vatican Library Video still

EMC Vatican LIbrary Digitisation video

A manuscript or books could have up to 500 pages, with each page needing 150MB of storage. Altogether, according to a spokesperson in an EMC video about the project, 45PB of storage will be needed.

This first phase of the project lasts three years and involves 40 million pages. EMC Italy is sponsoring this phase as part of an Information Heritage Initiative. It's contributing 2.8PB of Atmos, Isilon, and VNX storage arrays, Networker backup software and DataDomain deduplicating backup storage, and working with its Italian partner DEDAGROUP ICT Network.

Gianni Camisa, the group's managing director, provided a quote for EMC's release which perhaps suffered from translation issues; "This is a highly complex project of immense cultural value. We are pleased to offer our expertise around dematerialisation to a complex project of such historical significance." Digitisation might be a better translation of the Italian word that gave rise to dematerialisation.

The Amos storage will be used for long term conservation with the Isilon arrays used for items needing fast access. Documents will be stored in an ISO-certifiable digital format to ensure, EMC says, future availability.

At the moment a maximum of 200 scholars at a time can physically be in and use the Vatican Library. By digitising the manuscripts this can be increased to a much higher number and the manuscripts themselves, many extremely old and very fragile, will not have to handled and put at risk. The Vatican Library will be able to better preserve its heritage by becoming a library without walls. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
Cray-cray Met Office spaffs £97m on VERY AVERAGE HPC box
Only 250th most powerful in the world? Bring back Michael Fish
Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER
Sky's the limit with unrestricted space in the cloud
'ANYTHING BUT STABLE' Netflix suffers BIG Europe-wide outage
Friday night LIVE? Nope. The only thing streaming are tears down my face
IBM, backing away from hardware? NEVER!
Don't be so sure, so-surers
Google roolz! Nest buys Revolv, KILLS new sales of home hub
Take my temperature, I'm feeling a little bit dizzy
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.