TOKYO & ROME--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Vatican Apostolic Library, Digita Vaticana, NTT DATA Corporation and Canon Inc. today announced their agreement to present special faithful reproductions of a rare 1,600-year-old manuscript to the first 200 people/organizations who donate 500 euros or more to support an ongoing project that is using NTT DATA technology to digitally archive thousands of manuscripts at the Vatican Library. The reproductions will give the beholders the impression of looking at the original masterpiece. Donations should be made to Digita Vaticana (www.digitavaticana.org), a nonprofit organization that raises funds for the Library’s digitization project. Beginning today, reproductions, certified by the Library, can be booked by making a donation, and Digita Vaticana will distribute this special gift to donors and supporters of the project in September.
The facsimile will accurately reproduce the appearance of the manuscript. The digitization process is being handled by NTT DATA. Faithful reproduction of the original manuscript is made possible through the combination of Canon’s proprietary material appearance image-processing technology and Canon Group company Océ’s elevated printing technology.
The collaboration demonstrates how advanced technologies can be used to preserve and share ancient treasures as evidence of humankind’s universal cultural heritage. Canon’s innovative image-processing and printing technologies will produce exceptionally faithful reproductions of Folio 22 recto of the Vatican Virgil, one of the most important pages in the Vatican Library’s collections. A limited edition of 200 copies of the reproduction will be distributed to donors and supporters of the project.
The Vatican Virgil, a manuscript created in ancient Rome around 400 A.D., contains fragments of Virgil’s Aeneid and Georgics. Originally, it very likely included all of the canonical works of the Latin poet. One of the oldest manuscripts in existence today, it still contains the text of the Aeneid, with 76 surviving leaves and 50 illustrations. The Folio 22 recto includes an illustration from the Aeneid that depicts Creusa trying to detain her husband Aeneas from battle.
NTT DATA joined the Vatican Apostolic Library’s digital archiving project in April 2014. The project aims to create digital copies of some 3,000 ancient manuscripts for archiving and sharing with both scholars and the general public around the world.
“We are honored to use our state-of-the-art technology to help the Vatican Apostolic Library preserve these irreplaceable cultural treasures as a legacy for future generations,” said Toshio Iwamoto, President and CEO of NTT DATA. “NTT DATA will continue to leverage its digital expertise in support of the arts and academia for the benefit of future generations.”
“Our library is an important storehouse of the global culture of humankind,” said Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library. “We are delighted the process of digital archiving will make these wonderful ancient manuscripts more widely available to the world and thereby strengthen the deep spirit of humankind’s shared universal heritage.”
“Every donation will be used to support our mission of preserving the priceless historical manuscripts of the Vatican Apostolic Library,” said Maite Bulgari, President of Digita Vaticana. “The reproduction that will be sent to 200 donors will enable people to understand how digitization and new technologies can reproduce the actual appearance and the essence of a page from an ancient manuscript created some 1,600 years ago.”
“We are honored that Canon’s cutting-edge technology is being used to create the reproductions of this culturally important document,” said Fujio Mitarai, Chairman and CEO of Canon Inc. “The process used to create these visually and texturally accurate reproductions of the 1,600-year-old Vatican manuscript employs our material appearance image-processing technology to facilitate the digitization of such material appearance information as color data, subtle surface contours, and gloss. This information is then optimally controlled to replicate the material appearance properties of the original document. Through our technology, Canon will continue contributing to the development of culture and the arts.”
The Vatican Apostolic Library and NTT DATA expect to complete their manuscript-digitization project by March 2018. Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the project are invited to visit Digita Vaticana at www.digitavaticana.org.
About the Digital Archiving Project of the Vatican Apostolic Library
In April 2014, the Vatican Apostolic Library and NTT DATA began working on the project of digitally archiving manuscripts of the Library, with plans to digitize approximately 3,000 handwritten manuscripts by 2018. The Library’s overall project is intended to digitally archive all manuscripts preserved in the Library, amounting to some 82,000 manuscripts and 41 million pages. High-definition images are observable at the Library’s website, DigiVatLib (http://digi.vatlib.it), using a special viewer built with NTT DATA’s digital archive solution technology, AMLAD™. On May 17, 2016, the website was renewed to provide access to the Library’s full archive of digitized manuscripts and incunabula. DigiVatLib complies with the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), an open standard for easy access by researchers worldwide.
About the Vatican Apostolic Library
The Vatican Apostolic Library, also known as the “Popes’ Library,” is located in Vatican City. It was founded by Pope Nicholas V Parentucelli (1447-1455) in the Palace of Popes. In the late 16th century it was moved to the Sistine Hall by Pope Sixtus V Peretti (1585-1590), on the top floor of a new building built to delimit northward the Belvedere Court. The current seat, which began with Pope Leo XIII Pecci (1878-1903), includes adjacent buildings into which the Library was expanded to accommodate additional acquisitions and donations during its long history. The Library documents the history and thinking of humankind through arts and literature, mathematics and science, and law and medicine, from the early Christian era to the present day. It encompasses works of numerous languages and cultures ranging from the Far East to pre-Columbian America. The collection encompasses 82,000 manuscripts, 100,000 archival units, 1.6 million printed books (including 8,700 incunabula printed before 1501), 400,000 coins and medals, 100,000 prints, drawings and matrices, and 150,000 photographs.
About Digita Vaticana
Digita Vaticana Onlus is a non-profit organization founded in 2014 to promote the conversion of 82,000 Vatican Library’s manuscripts into digital format. It conducts fundraising activities to support this digitization initiative, and it is developing communication channels to disseminate and articulate the immeasurable value of these irreplaceable historical documents. For details, and to book a limited-edition copy of the reproduction, visit www.digitavaticana.org.
About NTT DATA
NTT DATA (TOKYO:9613) is a leading IT services provider and global innovation partner headquartered in Tokyo, with business operations in over 40 countries. Its emphasis is on long-term commitments, combining global reach with local intimacy to provide premier professional services varying from consulting and systems development to outsourcing. The company has been participating in the Vatican Apostolic Library’s project to digitally archive irreplaceable manuscripts since March 20, 2014. For more information, visit www.nttdata.com.
About Canon Inc.
Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ)(TOKYO:7751), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leader in the fields of professional and consumer imaging equipment, information systems and industrial equipment. Canon’s cooperation with the Vatican Apostolic Library digitization project is an initiative that is in keeping with the company’s corporate philosophy of kyosei. In accordance with this philosophy, Canon carries out a wide range of social contribution activities with the aim of contributing to a world in which all people live and work harmoniously together. Visit the Canon Inc. global website at global.canon.
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