Today, the Library's Archives Department houses over 450 personal archives, the majority of which bear testimony to the activities of outstanding Jewish personalities from a wide variety of spheres: writers and poets, humanists, Rabbis, Zionist leaders, scientists, journalists, critics and others. The Library is also in possession of a small number of institutional archives, for example that of the Israel Folklore Society (Yeda Am) and various community archives.
The Archives Department also boasts a number of special collections, many of which consist of visual materials. Among these are the Avraham Schwadron Autograph and Portrait collections, the Broadsides and Posters collection, the Ketubbot collection, and the Photograph and Postcard collections. The latter two collections feature approximately a million items focusing on the land of Israel in the nineteenth century and Diaspora Jewish communities. The materials contained in all the aforementioned collections are in a wide variety of languages including Hebrew, Yiddish, German, English, Russian and French.
The individual archives vary in scope from a handful of documents and letters to dozens of shelf meters of special archival storage boxes. Some archives, specifically those of Martin Buber, S.Y. Agnon, and Else Lasker-Schüler, contain entire book collections. Materials (both original and secondary) are still being added to some of the archives.
Most of the archives have finding aids, though these records suffer from a lack of uniformity attributable to the fact that the archives arrived and were arranged at
different times. A major project is currently underway to transfer the information contained in the physical records lists to the Library's computerized central catalogue. The Aleph cataloguing software program has been specially adapted to meet the needs of archival description, preserving hierarchy and context as per proper archival practice. The contents of archives that have been catalogued using Aleph can now be accessed through the Library's online catalogue and are readily available to readers in Israel and the world over.