Wednesday, December 21, 2011
vatican goes high-tech to preserve fragile ancient tomes
from msnbc: One of the world's oldest libraries in Rome faces a huge problem — how to preserve 1,800-year-old manuscripts in a digital format that's readable for next-generation computers. A format designed to store images taken by satellites and orbital telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope could offer a solution to the Holy See's Vatican Library. Archivists have already begun scanning the fragile, ancient tomes in the Vatican's collection with software that can transform old pages pressed against glass into an accurate, flat digital image. Such images saved in the flexible image transport system (FITS) format — designed by NASA and European space scientists in the 1970s — will allow computers built even 100 years from now to decode whatever information is stored.