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First Benedict XVI Tweets, now Vatican records go digital FOR FREE

In a somewhat rare bit of positive news for it, the Vatican is busying itself with digitising God’s business with the gratis help of EMC.

The information management behemoth is stepping in to work a few miracles a little more modern and perhaps more far-reaching than those of the bronze age by turning over 80,000 manuscripts and 8,900 rare incunabula into searchable records.

First, we had to look up incunabula. Evidently, it’s a fancy name for old pamphlets.

In terms of the project, those many thousands of documents, no doubt including a lot of Papal Bull, will be thoroughly digitised, resulting in 40 million pages being preserved on EMC hardware.

The first phase of what is a nine-year project will provision 2.8 petabytes of storage, utilising a range of FREE products from EMC including Atmos, Data Domain, Isilon, NetWorker and VNX.

While the Vatican is considered one of the world’s more wealthy organisations, and despite churches of every stripe enjoying tax exempt status the world over (including in New Zealand), EMC is donating that gear. Perhaps an effort to curry favour with God? Or a loss-leader which, once the massive PoC is delivered, will open the gates to the Vatican’s capacious coffers?

In any event, the Vatican’s trove of documents is evidently one of the oldest libraries in the world, holding many of the rarest and most valuable documents in existence. Among these are the 42 line Latin Bible of Gutenberg, the first book printed with movable type and dating between 1451 and 1455.

Says the presser: "EMC is supporting the Vatican Library’s goal of preserving in an ISO-certifiable digital format delicate texts vulnerable to deterioration and decay from repeated handling, ensuring that the accumulated knowledge of generations is freely available for future study."

We do hope EMC's largesse will extend to the world's other major religions, too. By lumping the RCC into the general description of Christianity and using this chart, we've calculated that Islam, for example, should qualify for about 1.8 petabytes of EMC kit.