Though sometimes considered contradictory concepts, technological advances and the humanities provide a spectrum of possibilities for mutual enhancement. In recognition of the role technology can and must play in furthering humanities research, the National Library of Israel has launched a program of seminars to promote innovative research initiatives that use technology to make a significant contribution to academic research in the humanities.
The National Library has already sponsored a number of pioneering seminars presented by leading academic institutions in response to the Library's invitation and challenge to develop new research mechanisms suited to the digital age. In the first of these, Tel Aviv University organized a seminar entitled Computer-Aided Research of Historical Archives in the Humanities and Computer Sciences Workshop. The Hebrew University Geography Department presented the second workshop in the series: Historical Geographic Information Systems (HCIS) for Reconstructing the Past. The workshop was designed to promote the use of GIS technology in understanding the past based on historical maps, and included a laboratory practice session to demonstrate the new techniques. In the past year, the Van Leer Institute presented Computer Technologies for the Historical Research of Intellectual Networks.
The selected seminars have brought together international experts and local research professionals to focus on the integration of the traditional with the innovative, demonstrating how technology can serve and advance humanities research. The successful program represents in microcosm the National Library's comprehensive renewal process: transformation of the Library into a hub of intellectual and cultural creativity through the introduction of advanced technologies into all aspects of the Library's operations.