Some of the great libraries of the world, full of rare manuscripts and books dating back 500 years, are those maintained in Rome by Gregorian University. In an attempt to preserve the fragile contents of these Pontifical Libraries, a project is under way to scan their collections into computers. Xerox Corp. is supplying the equipment and knowhow while Ernst & Young is managing the project.
The idea is to capture images of the old documents in electronic form so that reprints can be made at any time--and, if all goes well, at any location: The libraries are connecting their electronic repository of documents to the global Internet so that scholars can peruse them from a distance. The two U.S. companies are using the project to explore large-scale commercial-imaging systems.