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Israel National Library launches digital manuscript archive

45,000 texts spanning the centuries and geography of the Jewish world, captured in over 4.2 million images, are available online

Screen capture of the National Library of Israel's online manuscript archive, August 2, 2017. (National Library of Israel)
Screen capture of the National Library of Israel's online manuscript archive, August 2, 2017. (National Library of Israel)

Israel’s National Library has launched an online database aggregating tens of thousands of digitized Jewish manuscripts belonging to collections from across the globe.

From Wednesday, scholars and laypersons can access almost half of the known handwritten Jewish texts from Spain to Afghanistan, which have been digitized and cataloged online.

The National Library partnered with some of the largest collections of Jewish manuscripts, including the British Library, Parma’s Palatina Library and the Vatican Library, in an effort to bring the nearly 100,000 known texts under one digital roof.

The archive currently contains nearly 4.5 million images from 45,000 manuscripts, including prayer books, biblical texts and commentary, philosophy, literature and scientific writings, in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic and more.

Work is ongoing to get the remaining thousands of volumes online.

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