​What is a Pinkas?​

The Hebrew term pinkas (plural, pinkasim) refers to community record books that include detailed descriptions of the administrative functioning of the Jewish bodies that created them. It documents the ways in which Jewish society organized its social, economic, religious, cultural, and family life, as well as aspects of its relations with non-Jewish governments and bodies.​

What is a shelf number or signature?

The manuscripts in every library or collection are numbered. The shelf number is the serial number of the manuscript in the library or collection. This number is the sign used to identify the manuscript, and through it you can find the particular manuscript you are searching for. Sometimes there is a running number for manuscripts and sometimes there are a few different groups of manuscripts (sub-collections) that are numbered separately (for example, if they arrived in the library from various sources or are arranged by subject).​

What is a catalog number?

Some libraries or collections have a catalog of their manuscript holdings. The catalog contains descriptions of all or a portion of the manuscripts. Important information is given about each manuscript, such as its content, physical state, place and date of origin, and more. Manuscripts in the catalog are numbered, and this number is the catalog number of the manuscript. This number is different from the shelf number (see above). Some collections or libraries do not have a catalog of their manuscript holdings, and others have more than one catalog.​

What is the difference between a page and a folio?

Each folio has two sides, which are the pages. Sometimes, the two pages of each folio are numbered (as are the pages in a printed book today), and sometimes the pages are numbered on only one side. In order to distinguish between both sides of the numbered page, letters (either in Hebrew or English) are used: side a or side b (or for example, 65a or 65b, or abbreviations of the Latin words, recto [r] and verso [v], as in 34r or 34v). ​

What type of use is permissible with pinkasim?

Most of the pinkasim displayed on the website can be freely viewed from any location and shared on social networks. A small number can only be viewed on the library’s computers. For additional uses of pinkasim such as downloading, printing, publication, etc., each library defines the terms of use of the pinkasim in its possession. The National Library is obliged to note next to each pinkas the appropriate terms of use according to the originating library. The basic principle is that with every use of a particular library’s pinkas, credit must be given using the wording that appears on the website. Another principle is that for any use that is not expressly permitted, prior written approval must be obtained from the library of origin.

How can I obtain images of a pinkas?

Some libraries allow you to print the pinkas directly from the website. To receive a high quality image you must contact the originating library directly. Contact information of libraries is specified in the terms of use of the pinkas.

In case there is no scan of the pinkas and the user would like to receive a scan of the microfilm in the National Library, the reader should contact the National Library along with written permission of the originating library. If the reader wishes to obtain an image that was already scanned specifically from the National Library and not from the originating library, the reader should contact the National Library with permission from the originating library. There is a service fee as specified in the Terms of Service of the National Library.

How can I publish images from a pinkas?

​Some libraries allow publication of an image from a pinkas without receiving permission in advance, while giving proper credit to the library. Most libraries require the reader to apply ​for permission to publish the image. Contact information of libraries is specified in the Terms of Use on the manuscript webpage.​