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Vatican Library to digitise 80,000 manuscripts
Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Library, sent out an "extraordinary" Newsletter 5/2010 on 24 March (see full text as posted by the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog) announcing plans to digitise 80,000 manuscripts held by the Vatican Library. Planning and consulting, as well as testing of workflow and infrastructure, have been finalised. The Newsletter also discloses some details about the project: it is planned to be implemented in three phases over a 10 year period and will initially involve 60 staff in the first phase, incremented to over 120 staff in the second and third phases. A Metis System Scanner and a 50MP Hasselblad camera ("depending on the different types of material to be reproduced") will capture the images which will be stored as FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) files, a non-proprietary file format, originally designed for the storage and transmission of mainly scientific images. The 40 million manuscript pages are anticipated (following "a rough calculation") to take up a total of 45 petabytes storage space. [Holy Cow! A petabyte is 1000 terabytes, or 1,000,000,000,000,000B]