In order to make its medieval manuscripts more accessible, the Vatican Apostolic Library undertook a meticulous work of digitization, based on the latest technical advances in the field.
The project was born after three years of research, funded in part by the American Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in collaboration with the prestigious Stanford University.
A new experimental software has been developed to enable the management and production of handwritten notes on sheets of paper: transcriptions, comments, and comparative analysis of texts and images.
With a new platform put online in the autumn of 2019, and accessible in English and Italian, 244 manuscripts and more than 26,000 annotations are already available for free access.
These documents are divided according to different themes: Greek and Latin paleography, Latin classics, palimpsest manuscripts—with the technology to recover erased information,—or the presentation of the library of the famous humanist condottiere (mercenary soldier) of the Renaissance, Federico da Montefeltro, the Duke Urbino.
But the task is far from over: of the 80,000 medieval manuscripts preserved in the Vatican, only 18,000 have been digitized to date.