About this Project

Through the generous support of the Polonsky Foundation, this project will make 1.5 million digitised pages freely available over the next three years. Portions of the Bodleian and Vatican Libraries’ collections of Hebrew manuscripts, Greek manuscripts, and incunabula have been selected for digitisation by a team of scholars and curators from around the world. The selection process has been informed by a balance of scholarly and practical concerns; conservation staff at the Bodleian and Vatican Libraries have worked with curators to assess not only the significance of the content, but the physical condition of the items, prioritising items that are robust enough to withstand being transported to the imaging studio and handled by the photographers. In order to preserve the integrity and completeness of the manuscript collections, the libraries have also agreed to digitise whole collections wherever possible and relevant. The complete list of works that we intend to digitise can be accessed here for Greek manuscripts, here for Hebrew manuscripts, and here for incunabula. If you are working with materials from one of these subject area and would like to see something digitized, please contact the relevant curator in your area/library.

While the Vatican and the Bodleian have been creating digital images from our collections for a number of years, this project provides an opportunity for both libraries to increase the scale of their digitisation services. In both cases, this has meant significant investments in the equipment, infrastructure, and people that make digitisation possible. Over the course of this project, both libraries will also be revealing information about their digitisation techniques and methods. More information about the digitisation process can be found on our project blog.


Steering Committee

Richard Ovenden, Interim Bodley’s Librarian (co-chair)

Mons. Cesare Pasini, Prefetto della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (co-chair)

Wolfram Horstmann, Associate Director for Digital Libraries and IT, Bodleian Libraries

Adalbert Roth, Curator of Printed Books, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Christine Madsen, Head of Digital Programmes, Bodleian Libraries (secretary)


Selection Committee

Malachi Beit-Arie (Ludwig Jesselson Professor Emeritus of Codicology & Palaeography, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Alan Coates (Curator, Rare Books, Bodleian Libraries)

Chris Fletcher (Keeper of Special Collections, Bodleian Libraries)

Timothy Janz (Curator of Greek Manuscripts, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)

Kristian Jensen (Head of Arts and Humanities, British Library)

Paola Manoni (Metadata Specialist, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)

Christine Madsen (Manager of Infrastructure and Innovation, Bodleian Libraries)

César Merchán Hamann (Director of the Leopold Muller Memorial Library; Yarnton and Hebraica and Judaica Curator, Bodleian Libraries)

Richard Ovenden (Deputy to Bodley's Librarian, Bodleian Libraries)

Delio Proverbio (Curator of Oriental Manuscripts, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)

Adalbert Roth (Curator of Printed Books, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)

Aviad Stollman (Judaica Collections Curator, National Library of Israel)

Nigel Wilson (Emeritus Fellow, Lincoln College Oxford)


Technical Committee

James Allan (Head of Imaging Services, Bodleian Libraries)

Luciano Ammenti (Director of the Vatican Library Information Technology Centre]

Nicole Gilroy (Head of Book Conservation, Bodleian Libraries)

Wolfram Horstmann (Associate Director of Digital Library Programmes and IT, Bodleian Libraries)

Christine Madsen (Head of Digital Programmes, Bodleian Libraries; Manager of the Polonsky Foundation Digitisation Project)

Paola Manoni (Metadata Specialist, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)

Matthew McGrattan (Digitization Service Manager and Imaging Specialist, Bodleian Libraries)

Angela Nunez Gaitan (Director of the Vatican Library Conservation Laboratory)

Michael Popham (Head of Digital Collections, Bodleian Libraries)

Irmgard Schuler (Head of Photographic Laboratory, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)


Web Content Production and Editing
Emma Stanford (Graduate Trainee, Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services)

Web Design
Global Initiatives

Bodleian Libraries Communications
Oana Romocea, Communications Manager

Video Filming and Editing
Oxford University Press Office
Vatican Television Centre