Bringing the 15th century into the 21st century

Running low on reading material? You could have an extra 1.5 million pages to browse as a result of a collaborative effort between the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV). Thanks to a £2 million award from the Polonsky Foundation, the organizations will digitize ancient texts in their collections and make them freely available online to researchers and the general public.

The foundation's Dr. Leonard Polonsky stated in a press release, “21st-century technology provides the opportunity for collaborations between cultural institutions in the way they manage, disseminate, and make available for research the information, knowledge, and expertise they hold. I am pleased to support this exciting new project where the Bodleian Libraries and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana will make important collections accessible to scholars and the general public worldwide.”

The digitized collections will be in three subject areas: Greek manuscripts, 15th-century printed books (incunabula), and Hebrew manuscripts and early printed books. The project of making approximately 1.5 million pages available in digital format will span four years.

As Brian Dodson writing at Gizmag puts it, people ranging from scholars to followers of the da Vinci Files can take advantage of the digitized collection.

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