History of the Digitization Process of the Laor Collection in the National LIbrary
In 2002, the National Library, the Shappel Digitization Project, and the Historical Cities Project of the Hebrew University Geography Department
, created and launched the Ancient Maps of Jerusalem
project. The project, based on the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, displayed a range of Jerusalem maps from 1486 to the beginning of the 20th century. Each map appeared with accompanying complete bibliographical information and could be viewed and enlarged. In parallel, the Historical Cities
website presented maps of cities from around the world. Establishment of the site was made possible by a grant from the Planning and Budgeting Committee
of the Council for Higher Education.
Later, in 2007, the National Library, with the assistance of the Shappel Digitization Project, launched the Holy Land Maps website. Based on the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, the site included more than 1000 maps, from 1462 to the beginning of the 20th century. Each map included complete bibliographic information and the possibility of enlarging to view the small details.
The Digitization Project Today
With the Library's transition to new technologies of access, the Jerusalem and Holy Land maps sites are no long being updated. Rather, access to the scanned maps is achieved directly from the map's registry on in the library catalogue or through the Merhav system, including maps that had been featured on the old sites, and hundreds of additional items that have been scanned over the past four years. The range of years of the scanned maps has been expanded, and it is now updated to the mid-20th century. In addition, the scanning is no longer limited to topics of the first sites, but covers additional parts of the world, such as the Middle East, Asia, Africa, etc.
In the coming years, the library is planning a comprehensive scanning project of all of its maps as part of the preparations towards the transition to its new residence, where access to the maps will be, for the most part, digital.
The Digitized Library of Holy Land Maps
The British Library
Queen's College, Oxford
Corpus Christie College, Oxford
Corpus Christie College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek – The National Library of the Netherlands
The Jewish Theological Seminary
The late Dr. Alfred Moldovan
The Morgan Library and Museum, New York
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript library, Yale University
Bibliothéque d'agglomération St. Omer
Badische Landesbibliothek, Karlsruhe
Det Arnamagnaenske Institut, Kobenhavns Universitet Amager Uppsala University Library
*Some of the items in this project are already presented on the library site, while others are processed, and will be available in the near future.