A Global Effort to Bring Rare Books In Rome to an Online Audience 梵蒂岡圖書館數位化 吸引全球讀者
Modern-day church scholars may find the going easier. Some of the texts at the library of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, a graduate school in Rome dedicated to the study of the Eastern branch of Christianity, have just been digitized and will soon be at the fingertips of a global audience.
The first digitized versions will be available to the public in mid-2022, the product of a charitable initiative that connected the institute with technology companies in the United States and Germany.
The companies, said the Rev. David Nazar, the institute's rector, understood the project's value. Many of the books come from countries such as Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, where turmoil put entire collections at risk. Others come from countries where authoritarian censorship was equally threatening.
Although most of the institute's titles are not recognizable to the general public, they are precious to scholars. They include volumes such as a Greek first edition of liturgies of John Chrysostom, an early church father, printed in Rome in 1526.
"The library is unique in the world," said Gabriel Radle, a professor at the University of Notre Dame who studied at the institute.
Its volumes cover the broad gamut that is Eastern Christianity, a term for the traditions and denominations developed in the first centuries of the church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, spreading through Greece, Turkey and Eastern Europe, north to Russia, south to Egypt and Ethiopia, and as far east as India.
"It's unique, not just in the technology sense but also in the sense of contributing to such a wonderful piece of history," she said.
Venice Gets a Grip on a Star Architect's Slippery Bridge 明星建築師設計 威尼斯新橋很難走
As tourists wandered obliviously on the glass floor of the footbridge, locals proceeded with caution. Venetians made sure to walk on the narrow stone strip at the center, some lifting fogged glasses to keep their eyes on the ground. When a visitor tripped, they barely lifted their gaze.
The bridge, Ponte della Costituzione, by star architect Santiago Calatrava, is a multimillion-dollar work of glass and steel that opened in 2008. Its smooth curve above the Grand Canal, near Venice's train station, was meant to symbolize the city's embrace of modernity, but it has become better known as a stage for ruinous tumbles and dangerous slips.
Now, after years of protests and problems, the city has decided to replace the translucent glass with less slippery — and less glamorous — trachytestone.
"People hurt themselves, and they sue the administration," said Francesca Zaccariotto, Venice's public works official. "We have to intervene."
The city's decision to allocate 500,000 euros, or about $565,000, to replace the bridge's glass section comes after several failed attempts to limit slips with resin and nonslip stickers. Last month, as the winter cold and rains made the floor especially dangerous, officials placed keep-off signs on the glass portion of the bridge, which is most of it.
Acclaimed around the world for work including the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York, Calatrava was commissioned to design the bridge in 1999. When it opened nine years later, after protests about delays and soaring costs, complaints about falls began quickly.
Protests intensified in 2013, when the city installed a cable car on the bridge to make it more accessible. The red, round cabin — not designed by Calatrava — cost about 1.5 million euros, was slow to cross the bridge and became unbearably hot in the summer. It was later dismantled.
In 2018, the city replaced some of the slabs of glass with trachyte, but during the pandemic, when national television filmed people walking over the bridge to illustrate the return to normalcy after a lockdown, it inevitably caught someone slipping. Last year, the administration gathered the funds to fully replace the glass.