(Vatican Radio) Did you know the Vatican Apostolic Library uses a system developed for radio astronomy to help preserve its vast collection?
The system is called ‘FITS’ [flexible image transport system format], and it was developed by NASA and the European Space Agency [ESA] in the 1970’s.
The Vatican Library hosted an event on Friday to announce the continuation of a five year collaboration with the ESA to use the FITS system to preserve, manage, and exploit the archived information.
The system not only helps preserve original documents, it also has a special text header with instructions on how to easily decode the data. In the likelihood current technology becomes obsolete in the future, newer computers will still be able to access the information.
“Our collaboration is based on the common intention by our two institutions to promote the long-term preservation of images in electronic format,” – said Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library on the ESA website – “Thanks to our cooperation with ESA, the Vatican Library has found the courage to make an innovative choice to use the FITS format for long-term storage.”
“The Vatican Apostolic Library and ESA are two examples that attest to the approach of collaboration for global benefit,” said Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA.
“While ESA provides global information about the state of our planet through satellite observations, the Vatican Apostolic Library offers a unique source of wisdom that has contributed to the development of our society and culture,” Aschbacher continued.
More information can be found here at the ESA’s website.
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