Digitizing materials is such hard work, both to do it and to keep them up to date and usable. But the access is so fantastic for those of us who can not visit all the places where rare, fragile materials are housed! So we appreciate the work done by libraries and archives able to do this good work.
One such library is The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts – ‘KTIV’
“With the rapid advances in the technological environment that significantly expand options for preservation, presentation and access to digital content, the National Library of Israel initiated the renewal of its collection of copies of Hebrew manuscripts. This enterprise, undertaken in partnership with the Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society (FJMS) is designed to make Jewish manuscripts widely available. The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts will enable global centralized digital access to the complete corpus of existing Hebrew manuscripts. The images will be preserved long-term using state of the art technology, and the collection will be accessible to international communities of researchers and users from the comfort of their own institutions and homes.
The International Digital Library of Hebrew Manuscripts is made possible through the generous support of the Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society (FJMS) and the Landmarks Heritage Program in the Prime Minister’s Office, created to preserve national heritage.
The Project’s Vision
• Open access to all Hebrew manuscripts, on the internet, on computers and on mobile devices.
• A quick and efficient search engine, enabling manuscript searches according to their physical attributes, content, historical and artistic context.
• A powerful viewer presenting the entire layout of the manuscript and single pages, enabling manipulation of high resolution images, and supplying links to the catalog record and to other related items or texts.
• A personal work environment, consisting of text- and image-related tools chosen by the user to create his or her own space according to individual preferences and needs (In the project’s second stage).
• Enabling users to share and consult with fellow users for research, education and personal interest.
The Project’s Process
• Contacting the libraries and collectors around the world and agreeing on the terms of digitization and presentation of the material.
• Scanning the manuscripts from the originals or from the microfilms. From the original, the digitization is generally done by the libraries’ teams, by local photographers or by NLI’s photographers, who take full color digital images, for long-term preservation, in the highest resolution possible. From the microfilms, the digitization is based on the negative reels of the manuscripts, which are scanned in gray-scale. The images are accessible in high quality in the website.
• Receiving and testing the images by the NLI team.
• The final outcome: high resolution images of the manuscripts.
Additional contributions will ensure the capacity to digitize the complete corpus of Hebrew manuscripts available worldwide. Designated donations can be made for particular manuscripts, for manuscripts belonging to specific communities, or for the development of educational activities and programming designed to promote engagement with this remarkable collection of manuscript treasures. The library will also welcome donations of digital images of manuscripts. ”