Digitalization

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What do the following have in common: a Greek Psalter from the late 15th Century, a Tehilim (psalter) and Birkat ha-mazon (Hebrew blessings following a meal) printed in 1477, a Sephardic Pentateuch datable to the late 11th–early 12th century and a 10th Century Greek Bible?

Online From December 3: 

Ancient Texts from the Vatican Apostolic and Bodleian Libraries

digitalization20131206What do the following have in common: a Greek Psalter from the late 15th Century, a Tehilim (psalter) and Birkat ha-mazon (Hebrew blessings following a meal) printed in 1477, a Sephardic Pentateuch datable to the late 11th–early 12th century and a 10th Century Greek Bible?  These and other ancient books and manuscripts are being digitized in a joint project of the Vatican and Bodleian Libraries funded by the Polonsky Foundation. Not only does this provide for conservation and preservation of these delicate materials helping to insure their existence and safety from destruction (think loss of the ancient Library of Alexandria and its holdings) it makes them freely and broadly available for reading and study to anyone interested over the web.  For further information on this initiative please visit here: http://bav.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/  The website provides high-resolution scale images, hosts videos and essays by scholars and supporters of the digitalization project. Also, a blog with articles on conservation, digitalization techniques and methods used during the project.

From the Vatican News Service

The Vatican Apostolic Library (BAV) and the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford have joined forces to digitalize and make available online some of the most important and unique Bibles in the world, as well as biblical texts from their collections. From today, 3 December, the digitalized texts can be accessed at http://bav.bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

The initiative is the first step of an important four-year collaborative project for the publication of digital content on the internet. A committee of academics and experts from around the world has selected for digitalization a part of the collection of manuscripts in Hebrew and Greek, as well as incunabula from the Bodleian and Vatican Apostolic Libraries. The selection process has taken into account both the requirements of scholars and practical needs. Restorers from both libraries have collaborated with conservators to ascertain not only the value of the contents, but also the conditions of preservation of the works.

Although for some years now the two institutions have digitally reproduced part of their collections, this project provides them both with the opportunity to increase the scale and numerical capacity of the volumes digitalized, while taking care not to expose the works, very delicate on account of their age and conservational condition, to risk of damage.

The website, just opened, provides high-resolution scale images permitting detailed study and scientific analysis. The site includes also hosts videos and essays by scholars and supporters of the digitalization project, including Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church and Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby. A blog with articles on conservation, digitalization techniques and methods used during the project completes the site, which may be viewed in both English and Italian.