[fitsbits] The Vatican adopts FITS

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Wed Apr 28 17:34:39 EDT 2010

This story is absolutely delightful!  It has even made it to slashdot.

The Vatican Newsletter mentions a "technical feasibility study".  Does  
anybody have a copy of this study?  Were any of our august members  
involved in the evaluation?  Do we know how they are planning to  
handle color?  Or compression?

Yipes!  A successful project with the Vatican archives is likely to  
influence other such projects worldwide.  The FITS community is poised  
to become very much larger in scope.


> Here is an interesting announcement from the Vatican about their plans
> to create a digital archive of manuscripts in the Vatican Library in
> FITS format. It's a 10 year project that will eventually contain 40
> million manuscript pages and will total 45 petabytes in size.
> A couple blog entries are here:
> http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/archives.html
> http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2010/03/80000-vatican-mss-to-be-digitized.html
> And an Italian newspaper article is here:
> http://www.repubblica.it/tecnologia/2010/04/20/news/biblioteca_vaticana-3489668/
> (babel fish gives a fairly coherent translation to English)
> They chose to use the FITS format over alternatives like tiff, pdf or
> Jpg 2000 because it is a simple, free, open-source, well-documented
> archival format that should survive technical evolutions and still be
> readable well into the future.
> Bill Pence

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