[fitsbits] The Vatican adopts FITS

Arnold Rots arots at head.cfa.harvard.edu
Wed Apr 28 17:45:45 EDT 2010


It had occurred to me that this might be a reason for us to revive the
discussion on multicolor encodings from a few years ago. It would seem
like an absolute must if one is serious about digitizing manuscripts.
Yes, this is huge if they decide to proceed!

I passed it on to our colleagues at Smithsonian Archives...

As to compression, I assume that the only type acceptable would be
loss-less compression.

Cheers,

  - Arnold

Rob Seaman wrote:
> 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.
> 
> Rob
> --
> 
> > 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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Arnold H. Rots                                Chandra X-ray Science Center
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory                tel:  +1 617 496 7701
60 Garden Street, MS 67                              fax:  +1 617 495 7356
Cambridge, MA 02138                             arots at head.cfa.harvard.edu
USA                                     http://hea-www.harvard.edu/~arots/
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