Tag Archives: digital

New Acquisitions: Prague history, 15th c. Yiddish medicine, and Italian Broadsides

It has been a busy year for Judaica acquisitions at the Columbia RBML.  Three important acquisitions have been added to our collection:

  1. A collection of forty Italian Broadsides depicting regulations on various communities (including Ferrara, Padua, Ancona, and others), only one of which is in the extensive Valmadonna collection of broadsides.  We plan to digitize this collection to add to the already significant corpus provided by Valmadonna.  Regulations include prohibitions on throwing candy, talking in the synagogue and shouting, as well as financial matters such as taxes.
  2. A late 18th century manuscript describing the history of the Jewish community of Prague from the perspective of the author, Yosef Yitshak Ha-kohen Poppers.  Particularly interesting from a visual perspective is the addition of a printed engraving pasted on to the title page.
  3. Our most recent acquisition is a 15th century Sefer Refu’os, in Yiddish (with Italian words for herbs, and, citing at least one Ladino incantation), of remedies and cures for all sorts of things, including teeth whitening, various remedies for wounds, an incantation for revelation of one’s destined wife, and many more.  This manuscript is unique in both content and language, and we invite scholars to work on it!  The manuscript is in the process of being digitized, and will be made available online after digitization.

 

NEH grant to digitize LCAAJ (Yiddish language archive)

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) has received an award of $150,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize field notes and linguistic surveys from the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry (LCAAJ) archive.

The LCAAJ archive is an extraordinary resource for research in Yiddish studies that can shed much valuable light on language, ethnography, literature, folklore and music, anthropology, linguistics, Germanic and Slavic studies, and aspects of Central and East European history.  The archive consists of over 600 interviews conducted between 1959 and 1972 with native speakers of Yiddish during a long-range comparative study to document the effects of physical, linguistic, and cultural channels and barriers on the geographic fragmentation of the Jewish and diverse non-Jewish populations that coexisted in Central and Eastern Europe before World War II.  The LCAAJ project collected its interviews at essentially the last moment, when a diverse body of native speakers was still alive, aiming to address both the challenge of an endangered linguistic and cultural legacy, and the special potential that Yiddish provides for studying language and cultural contact and change.

The two-year project funded by NEH will digitize approximately 140,000 pages of interview answer sheets that contain data from the interviews, carry out optical character recognition (OCR) and mark-up to enable their content to be searched and manipulated, and will make all the digitized content freely available to scholars on the Internet on a Columbia website. This source for historical, literary, or anthropological research, and for the study of languages in contact, and the evolution and differentiation of language communities, will then be available to a worldwide community of scholars.

“The Atlas archive is a treasure-house of voices from a vanished world, bearing irreplaceable—heartbreakingly irreplaceable—information about Jewish life, language, and culture,” said Jeremy Dauber, Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture and director of Columbia’s Institute of Israel and Jewish Studies. “It needs to be shared with the world, and we’re delighted—and honored—that the National Endowment for the Humanities is enabling the Libraries to do so.”

The written materials accompany more than 5,700 hours of recorded interviews that CUL/IS has already digitized through generous support from NEH, private foundations, the New York State Conservation/Preservation Program, and EYDES (Evidence of Yiddish Documented in European Societies, a project of the German Förderverein für Jiddische Sprache und Kultur), through which the audio is publicly available.  The long-term goal is to eventually link the written content to the audio recordings of the interviews, and make the entire audio and written corpus available to students and scholars in an integrated form.

The interviews contain a wealth of comments about Jewish culture and history from a place and time that is largely out of our reach today.  Bringing the LCAAJ archive into the digital environment will increase exponentially its value to historians of Jewish Studies and European history, linguists, anthropologists, and students and teachers of Yiddish.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 21 libraries and various academic technology centers, including affiliates. CUL/IS employs more than 450 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.

See original release here: http://library.columbia.edu/news/libraries/2015/2015-03-31_National_Endowment_for_the_Humanities.html

Eight early American Jewish Newspapers, now available digitally!

I am pleased to announce that the following Early American newspapers are now available digitally through the following links.  With the exception of the American Israelite and American Hebrew and Jewish Messenger, all newspapers are freely available through the Historical Jewish Press website

Columbia is very proud to have been involved, with New York University and the New York Public Library, in helping the American Jewish Press to be added to the Historical Jewish Press’s corpus.  We look forward to continuing this collaboration in the years to come.

In English:
  1. Occident and American Jewish Advocate: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/The-Occident-and-American-Jewish-Advocate.aspx
  2. B’nai Brith Messenger: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/BBM.aspx
  3. Chicago Sentinel: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/Sentinal.aspx
  4. American Israelite: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio11136600
  5. American Hebrew and Jewish Messenger: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio11136586

In Ladino:

  1. La America: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/la-amirica.aspx.
  2. El Progreso: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/epo.aspx

In Yiddish:

  1. Morgen Zjournal: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/The-Jewish-Morning-Journal.aspx
  2. Die Wahrheit: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/JPress/English/Pages/Die-Warheit.aspx

Keep an eye on the Jewish Press in the USA section of the site, as there will be more newspapers added in the future!

New Resource: Sefaria

Sefaria is a new, crowdsourced website which is "building a free living library of Jewish texts and their interconnections, in Hebrew and in translation. [The] scope is Torah in the broadest sense, from Tanakh to Talmud to Zohar to modern texts and all the volumes of commentary in between."

Thus far, over 200,000 words have been translated, and it looks as if Sefaria already is a wonderful resource for referencing Bible and commentaries in both English and Hebrew.

New acquisitions: Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics Online

"The Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics offers a systematic and comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the history and study of the Hebrew language from its earliest attested form to the present day. The encyclopedia contains overview articles that provide a readable synopsis of current knowledge of the major periods and varieties of the Hebrew language as well as thematically-organized entries which provide further information on individual topics. With over 950 entries and approximately 400 contributing scholars, the Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics is the authoritative reference work for students and researchers in the fields of Hebrew linguistics, general linguistics, Biblical studies, Hebrew and Jewish literature, and related fields."

New Acquistions: Old Yiddish printed books (digital)

The Columbia University Libraries has recently acquired a database of 400 digitized Yiddish books from the Hebraica and Judaica of the Tychson Collection at the Rostock University.

According to the publisher's description:

"The nearly 400 titles of this edition offer a cross-section of the history of Yiddish books up to the 19th century. There are numerous rarities and unica, including the first Yiddish printing, Mirkevet ha-Mishne, Krakau 1534. Among translations and paraphrases of the Bible the collection contains the Konstanz-edition (1544) as well as translations by Blitz and Witzenhausen. Three of the existing editions of the Tsene-rene (Frankfurt a.M. 1685, Sulzbach 1702) were first discovered in Rostock, and the third of those (Fürth [Pseudo-Amsterdam] 1761) is apparently to be found nowhere else. One of the rarities among the prayer-books is a Hebrew Siddur. It contains Yiddish passages and was published in 1560 in Mantua."

This resource provides access to some of the oldest and rarest printings of Yiddish materials in existence.

We will soon be adding records with direct links to each of the titles in CLIO for easier searching.

Note: The site is in German.  To view a list of titles, go to: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio10264881, and then click the link for "Titel" after "Die Hebraica und Judaica der Sammlung Tychsen und der Universitätsbibliothek Rostock" in the "Collections" box.  You can also search by keyword.  To access the PDF, click "Details" under the title that interests you, and then click "PDF" under "komplettes Werk."   The link to PDF will then change to "Herunterladen," and you can click that to download the file.

New Online Resource: Aufbau

The Library of the Leo Baeck Institute has completed digitizing all issues of the German-Jewish émigré Journal, Aufbau published between 1934 and 2004, thus ensuring that the entire contents of the most important publication of the global German-Jewish refugee and exile community will remain available online to researchers.  The new resource is available immediately at: archive.org/details/aufbau

In 2012, LBI worked with Internet Archive, an online library and LBI’s primary digitization partner, to digitize the issues ofAufbau published between 1951 and 2004. This project, partially funded by the Metropolitan New York Library Council, put the entirety of the Aufbau online for the first time, since the German National Libray (DNB), had previously digitized the volumes of Aufbau published from 1934 – 1950 as part of its Exilpresse Digital project.

However, in June 2012, the DNB closed online access to the Aufbau along with other German journals published in exile and many Jewish periodicals published in Germany during the Nazi Regime, citing legal concerns. In order to ensure that this critical resource remains available to researchers, the Library of the Leo Baeck Institute digitized the early years of the Aufbau in 2013.  JM Jüdische Medien, the Swiss Publishing company that owns the rights to the Aufbau, has granted its approval for the digitization, and funding was once again provided by the Metropolitan New York Library Council.

New Database Acquisition: Sol and Evelyn Henkind Talmud text databank

I am pleased to announce the acquisition of a new database for the study of Talmud at Columbia, the Sol and Evelyn Henkind Talmud text databank.  The databank includes typed transcriptions and images of nearly all of the critical manuscripts and early printings of the Talmud, to allow scholarly research of variants and alternate readings of the text (including the Columbia Talmud and the 10th century Menahot – shown here – from Columbia's collection).

The ultimate goal of the databank is to "encompass all primary textual witnesses of the Babylonian Talmud, including the manuscripts of the tractates of the Babylonian Talmud of Oriental, Ashkenazic, Sephardic, or Yemenite provenance, and first printed editions. It will include hundreds of Cairo Geniza and European binding fragments of the Babylonian Talmud, many as both text and digital image."