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Judaica Europeana Jewish collections online
News from the Judaica Europeana network

The Judaica Europeana project, now in its fourth year, has led to the creation of an extensive network of heritage institutions in Europe, Israel and the US, which are working together to provide integrated access to digital collections of Jewish heritage.

To-date the project has made available on the Europeana portal the collections of partner libraries, archives and museums totalling 3.7 million items: book pages including incunabula, manuscripts, archival material, newspapers and periodicals, photographs, postcards, music recordings etc.

Hannah Louise von Rothschild Hannah Louise von Rothschild (1850-1892), the founder of the Rothschild Library. Courtesy of the University Library, Frankfurt / Main.

125 Years of the Rothschild Collection – a virtual exhibit from a Judaica Europeana partner. The Rothschild Library opened in Frankfurt on Main in 1888. It was created on the English model of the free public library and offered free access to academic literature and modern fiction for all. The exhibition tells the story of the library and the Rothschild family. It was curated and produced by the Frankfurt University Library.

The Web as Literature, a workshop held on 10 June 2013 and presented by DM2E and Judaica Europeana at the British Library Conference Centre in London, explored some key theoretical issues that underpin efforts to model and support scholarly practices on the web.

Jüdische Geschichte Digital, a conference on 13-14 June at the Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, Hamburg featuring Insights into Judaica Europeana by Dr Rachel Heuberger, Frankfurt University Library

16th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, 28 July - 1 August, 2013. New Techniques for Promoting Jewish Studies: A panel of Judaica Europeana partners, chaired by Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University, will show how the semantic web can be used for the support of scholars in their research.

Judaica Europeana for Digital Humanities by Dov Winer, European Association for Jewish Culture; The Haskala Database – the entry into the modern Jewish Republic of Letters by Rachel Heuberger, Frankfurt University; Epidat - epigraphical database and archive of Jewish cemeteries, inscriptions and tombstones by Thomas Kollatz, Steinheim Institute for German Jewish History; The eHumanities-project ‘spatial relations’ - Visualization of small(est) topographic structures by Nathanja Huettenmeister, Steinheim Institute.

Russian Jews leaving Liverpool
The emigration of Russian Jews - a doctor examining steerage passengers before their departure on board the Guion liner "Wisconsin", on the River Mersey at Liverpool. Wood engraving, 1891. CC BY-NC 2.0 UK. Wellcome Library, London. Featured in the Europeana Leaving Europe: A new life in America virtual exhibition. brings together the digitised content of Europe’s galleries, libraries, museums, archives and audiovisual collections. Currently, Europeana provides integrated access to 26 million digital objects: books, films, paintings, museum objects and archival documents from 2,200 content providers. For more information about Europeana’s group of projects and resources visit Europeana Professional, where librarians, curators and archivists share digital expertise.

Challenges and opportunities
The principal objective of Judaica Europeana is to enable Jewish collections to link their databases to Europeana. We are achieving this by participating in the Europeana ecosystem and partnering with projects such as the recently launched AthenaPlus (featured in this newsletter) and Digitised Manuscripts to Europeana.

We offer guidance and support to collections holders in the process of mapping and harvesting their metadata to Europeana. Our partners are also well placed to benefit from the opportunities created by the Semantic Web and the Linked Open Data environment. They can make use of the tools and APIs developed in the framework of Europeana as well as access the expertise within the many institutions that are part of the Europeana Network.

Linked Open Data cloud
Linking Open Data cloud diagram. This image shows datasets that have been published in Linked Data format by contributors to the Linking Open Data community project and other individuals and organisations.
It is based on metadata collected and curated by contributors to the Data Hub.

Navigating the ocean of Jewish digital content
A particular challenge created by the Semantic Web and Linked Data is to make the vast amount of  available digital content connected and enhanced by linking data and resources - to provide contextual knowledge.

"Hubs of knowledge such as encyclopaedias, controlled vocabularies and thesauri when published online in the RDF linked data format can become seed crystals in the ocean of Jewish content linking knowledge in a way that has never been done before. This could transform Jewish studies" – says Dov Winer, Judaica Europeana Scientific Manager.  The challenge here is to convince the owners of those vocabularies and encyclopaedias to make them available in the required format. We are currently exploring a number of possibilities and shall be reporting on progress.

Editor: Lena Stanley-Clamp, European Association for Jewish Culture, London
with contributions from National Library of Israel, Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, AthenaPlus project, JDC Archives |
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