Grant money to be used to extend access, through Online
BBC World News| 'Bodleian and Vatican digitise 1.5 million ancient texts' by BBC World News Staff at 12 April 2012 Last updated at 11:25 GMT
"Oxford's Bodleian Libraries and the Vatican's Biblioteca Apostolica plan to digitise 1.5 million ancient texts to make them available online.
The two libraries announced the four-year project after receiving a £2m award from the Polonsky Foundation.
Dr Leonard Polonsky said his aim was to ensure researchers and the public have free access to historic and rare texts.
Greek manuscripts, 15th Century printed books and Hebrew early printed books and manuscripts will be digitised.
The three subjects were chosen "for the strength of the collections in both libraries and their importance for scholarship in their respective fields", a Bodleian spokeswoman said.
The libraries say the digitisation will "virtually unite" materials that have been dispersed between the two collections over the past few centuries.
Sarah Thomas, Bodley's librarian, said: "Transforming these ancient texts and images into digital form helps transcend the limitations of time and space, which have in the past restricted access to knowledge.
"Scholars will be able to interrogate these documents in fresh approaches as a result of their online availability."
The Vatican Library was founded in 1451 by Pope Nicholas V "for the common convenience of the learned".
It is a private institution not attached to a university or academic institution.
The Vatican Library preserves more than 180,000 manuscripts, 1,600,000 printed books, 300,000 coins and medals, and 150,000 prints, drawings and engravings.
Many of the first books printed in Rome between 1467 and 1473 are still preserved in the Vatican Library, which also houses a copy of the entire Bible written about 1100 in Italy."