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Brought to life

06 December 2013


Brought to to life: above: part of Paolo Giovio's Vitae illustrium vivorum (1549-57), one of 1.5 million pages from manuscripts, early texts and Bibles, from collections currently being digitised through a collaboration between the Bodleian and Vatican Libraries. Portions of the Libraries' collections of Hebrew manuscripts, Greek manuscripts, and early printed books were selected for digitisation by a team of scholars and curators from around the world, on grounds of both scholarly and practical concerns. Conservation staff also worked with curators to assess the significance of the content and the physical condition of the items. Below: Msgr Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, shows a digitalised book from the Apostolic Library at the Vatican, on Tuesday. The Archbishop of Canterbury said in a video interview on Tuesday that the digitisation project was "profoundly inspirational", and would give people the chance to be inspired by the texts. "Where you can see these ancient texts, there is just a lifting of the spirit, of something that inspires worship. By being able to have access to them via a digitised collection, this really opens the text to a far wider range of scholars than have been able to get at them in the past, and is of huge international significance as a result", he said. Archbishop Welby compared the scanning of biblical texts to the spread of the printing press, which, he said, had a "profound impact" on religious practice and on wider society.

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