-          in the national language(s) and script(s) : Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

-          in English : Vatican Library




Cortile del Belvedere

V-00120 Cittą del Vaticano

Telephone : + 39/06698.79411

FAX: +39/06698.84795


Web site



Paola Manoni :


Short description of the institution


From the fourth century onwards there is evidence of the Scrinium of the Roman Church, which was both a library and an archive. The figure of the Bibliothecarius of the Roman Church appears at the end of the eighth century: this title was given to the Librarian Theophylactus in a document dated to 784, under Pope Adrian I. The earliest library and archive of the Popes were dispersed, for reasons which are still not well known, in the first half of the thirteenth century. The mid-fourteenth century, after the Popes had returned to Rome with Gregory XI in 1378, is the period which may be thought of as the beginning of the modern history of the Vatican Library. It was Nicholas V (1447-1455) who decided that the Latin, Greek and Hebrew manuscripts should be made available for scholars to read and study. In the time of Nicholas V, the library was made up of a single reading room; his project was completed and carried out by Sixtus IV (1471-1484), with a bull (Ad decorem militantis Ecclesiae, June 15 1475), the nomination of a librarian (Bartolomeo Platina) and the necessary financial support.


The library was enriched by several bequests and acquisitions over the centuries.

At present the Vatican Library preserves over 180,000 manuscripts (including 80,000 archival units), 1,600,000 printed books, over 8,600 incunabula, over 300,000 coins and medals, 150,000 prints, drawings and engravings and over 150,000 photographs.


Short description of the authority data

-          Authorities web site

-          Described entities :

o   Persons

o   Corporate bodies

o   Geographical names

o   Titles

o   Subjects


-          Number of records for each type of authority data :

As of July 30th, 2013 :

o   Persons : 311374

o   Corporate bodies : 65650

o   Geographical names : 28070

o   Titles: 64941

o   Subjects: 89422


-          Data provided in the authority records (in MARC21)

o   Authorized and variant access points.

o   Use notes / Cataloguer notes

o   Biographical or Historical Data

o   Public General Note

o   Source data found


Data provided to VIAF


-          Authority records for names of persons, corporate bodies.

As of Dec 31, 2012 :

o   Persons : 293437

o   Corporate bodies : 56273


-           All bibliographic records created, updated or deleted in the BAV general catalogue concerning the authority records sent to VIAF