SERVICES / Digitalization

AMLAD™ with The Vatican Apostolic Library

Digital archiving to preserve manuscripts for future generations

Overview

Cultural heritage has long been treasured and honored by all, regardless of background and nationality.

Today, the preservation of precious heritage collections has become more difficult. The protection of historical sites and objects is increasingly challenged by a host of factors, including intentional destruction and natural disasters due to climate change. However, one of the greatest threats to the preservation of precious historical manuscript collections is deterioration. The Vatican Apostolic Library, known as “the Pope’s Library” established in 1475, shares the same concerns with other owners of precious manuscript collections: ‘How can we maintain, preserve and disseminate a historical and cultural heritage in a perfect condition. Will we be able to handover this treasure to generations to come?’

In order to solve this issue, NTT DATA was selected to develop a digital archive service called AMLAD™ (Advanced Museum Library Archives Deposit) by the Vatican Apostolic Library to participate in its digital preservation project, DigitaVaticana. The reproductions from AMLAD™ will give the beholders the impression of looking at the original masterpiece while protecting the precious manuscripts from deterioration.

Vatican Apostolic library
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Data is a priceless treasure

The Vatican Apostolic Library contains an invaluable collection of works ranging from classical Greek and Latin literature, medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts all the way to texts on mathematics, science, law, and medicine dating from nearly 2,000 years ago.

The officials of this historical library approached NTT DATA after recognizing the track record of our AMLAD™ service, and we saw an opportunity to rise to this common challenge to inherit cultural assets worldwide.

For over a decade, our cloud computing service has been used in Japanese libraries such as Japan’s National Diet Library and the Akita Prefectural Library, to help preserve and store their aging manuscripts in digital form.

We believe that our technology will ensure the preservation of the Vatican Apostolic Library and their irreplaceable cultural treasures as a legacy for future generations.

“ We decided to go down this path together and accept the challenge and we placed out trust in NTT DATA ”

– Msgr.CESARE PASINI, Prefect Vatican Apostolic Library* 

Eternal preservation through digitalization

NTT DATA's digital archive service AMLAD™ enables conservation and distribution of valuable ancient books, manuscripts, prints, visual and audio data of GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) through digital data.

It can store, present and index data searchable from multiple devices for the public.

When texts are repeatedly handled over the years, they become more and more damaged as they are used and as they age.

We use a special device that holds the book so that pages can be scanned using ultraviolet-free rays, without degrading them. This feature can easily and quickly scan fragile manuscripts without opening the bookbinding to a full 180 degrees.

The quality of the pages is then examined by an inspector, and logged into a database alongside metadata such as author and keywords.

Finally, our archiving technology creates documents in high definition online and also complies with several international standards including OAIS, Dublin-core, METS, MODS, and EAD.

Challenges

The Vatican Apostolic Library is one of the oldest libraries in the world. It holds cultural handwritten masterpieces written by intellectuals such as Michelangelo and Galileo.

The Vatican Apostolic Library is in possession of some of the oldest documents which dates back to the 1st century, and was facing deterioration of its ancient collections. Though they were working on a long-term preservation project operated mainly by volunteers, it needed further improvement in its sustainability.

Preserving the past for future generations

NTT DATA has been collaborating with the Vatican Apostolic Library to digitize its vast collection of manuscripts, helping to make these treasures of mankind widely available and viewed in the future.

This extraordinary cross-border project demonstrates how advanced technologies can be an asset to preserve and share ancient treasures in order to archive evidence of humankind’s common cultural heritage. Through our solution, AMLAD™, we will continue to contribute to the development of culture and the arts.

If you are looking for a global partner with innovative IT solutions that bring value to people, NTT DATA is for you.



*Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSYJj4G2fMs ,Vatican Library Digital Archiving Project, 2014, 2:44

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