Digitizing The Vatican Library


And so here we have a case of a famed and notoriously secretive organization opening a bunch of their documents to the public via the Internet.

I can’t even begin to tell you how weird it is to find out that the Vatican has dumped thousands of scanned books from their fabled library on the Interwebs for easy reading. This is a library that has always been cited by conspiracy buffs as being chock full o’ esoteric shit. It has 1.1 million printed books, 75,000 codices, and 8,500 incunabula. As of this writing, over 6000 books/documents have been scanned.

Two caveats. One, there is no guarantee that every single book is going to be digitized. So the ones specifically about Oannes the Fish-God striking a classified deal with the Pope centuries ago to allow the cattle mutilations may still stay on the shelf. Indeed, in addition to their main library, they also have a separate “Secret Archive” of 150,000 other documents; some of these have been digitized, but there are a whole bunch of arcane rules regarding whether they will ever be made public.

Secondly, there are big honking watermarks on all these digitized books. But since the Vatican took the time to scan these rare documents, that’s kinda their right to do. Moreover, it underlines the point that…the Vatican is kind of more than a “churchy” thing. It’s kinda political, and it’s kinda a business too. And so these books—or at least said scans of books—must have a “copyright” in some way. These are kinda their “assets.”

Last point: I don’t know about you, but it never ceases to blow my mind that we are in a time period of the history of humankind—maybe the relative size of the tiniest sliver, in comparison to the rest of it—in which we can have access instantly to some of the most rare, secret, and esoteric books in the world. You have to wonder…is this, in part, what the mystics meant by the “Akashic Records?” Are the the Akashic Records just the fucking Internet? Did some “seer” a very long time ago drop shrooms in a cave and look into the future and see the Internet and be like: “dude, this is the Akashic Records!”?

Maybe the answer to that question is somewhere in that Vatican Library.