1-page Solution Brief
Posted: 3/13/2008
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Biblioteca Ambrosiana Renowned Library Uses Open XML to Manage Digital Online Catalog

“We’re very interested in Open XML and its flexible access to information for different programs and devices, especially when we consider the applications we’d like to implement over the coming years.”
—Don Francesco Braschi, Doctor and General Pro-Secretary, Biblioteca Ambrosiana


Business Needs

Founded as a center for study and culture, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Ambrosiana Library) in Milan, Italy, was one of the first libraries to be opened to the public. The library continues to dedicate its efforts to the preservation of Italy’s artistic and cultural heritage, and it now ranks as a leader in the use of new technologies to support the conservation of historical works.

Over the past several years, Biblioteca Ambrosiana has been moving forward with important digitalization projects—both for its catalogues and the diverse works in its collection, among which are works by Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Tiziano, and many others. As a public-facing institution, it is critical that the library provide this digitized information in a format that is accessible to a wide-ranging audience.


In February 2008, Biblioteca Ambrosiana started a pilot project aimed at the advanced management of its digital works and the standardization of access procedures for its documents. To that end, the library adopted Open XML Formats, an ECMA 376 international standard for document formats.

The Biblioteca Ambrosiana Web site now displays information regarding paintings that are exhibited in its picture gallery as Open XML documents. These documents can be accessed with any application that supports Open XML. The documents contain both an image of the work and relevant catalogue information. Users can download this information to their digital devices and effectively create customized digital guides to accompany them as they tour the library.


Biblioteca Ambrosiana is using Open XML to fulfill its mission of preserving artistic works and promoting cultural enrichment for all.

  • Ability to conserve culture without technology barriers
  • Support for interoperability across a range of platforms and devices
  • Increased transparency and long-term access to documents
  • A user-friendly, familiar way for the public to gain access to historical works
  • Flexibility to adopt future applications without worrying about document access
Solution Overview

Organization Size: 15 employees

Organization Profile

Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Ambrosiana Library) in Milan, Italy, is one of Italy’s and Europe’s foremost cultural institutions and has served as a center for study and culture since 1609.