But how do libraries like the National Library of Israel fit into the Digital Humanities equation?
Libraries are, of course, among the greatest sources of content for Digital Humanities research. Libraries play a crucial role in managing humanities data through collection, digitization and preservation, all of which facilitate increased research. For digital humanists, the library can also play a critical role in enabling the discovery of content from academic and cultural sources.
NLI, however, is taking this role one step further, by providing support for seminars designed to promote technological innovation in the Digital Humanities in Israel. The seminars - organized by Israeli academic institutions and featuring international and local experts - aim to encourage research and development of innovative technologies for the Digital Humanities.
"The National Library of Israel has begun a comprehensive project in which large parts of the NLI collections will be digitized, and the relevant metadata, and full text, attached where applicable,” explains Dr. Milka Levy-Rubin, NLI Humanities Collection Curator. “The seminars we are sponsoring take this one step further, providing a forum for researchers and developers from both the humanities and computer sciences to work together to maximize advancements in this cutting-edge field."
The inaugural seminar, held in May, 2011 at Tel Aviv University, featured experts discussing computer-aided research of historical archives. This past January, NLI, in conjunction with the Hebrew University Geography Department, hosted the second seminar that explored the incorporation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) into the field of Historical Geography. The workshops explored both theoretical and real technologies and approaches in the use of historical maps and other historical spatial sources with modern GIS tools. These lectures can be viewed on YouTube
In the next seminar of the series, taking place October 6th- 11th, NLI along with the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute will present “Computer Technologies for the Historical Research of Intellectual Networks”. The workshop will showcase leading international scholars presenting their own digital humanities projects that combine intellectual history and network visualization technologies, and will teach the tools and methods that have been developed for them. The keynote speaker will be Prof. Howard Hotson from the University of Oxford; other invited lecturers include Dr. Glen Worthey, head of the Humanities Digital Information Service at Stanford University; Scott Weingart, Indiana University; Marten Düring, Radboud University Nijmegen; and Hannah Marcus, Stanford University.
Participants will have the chance to explore open-access tools, experiment with datasets from several case studies, and connect with the thriving international community of Digital Humanities research.