The National Library of Israel (NLI) and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) are pleased to announce the signing of a partnership agreement providing for the digitization of approximately 1,400 Hebrew manuscripts from the BnF’s collection, which includes some of the most important Hebrew manuscripts in existence.
The NLI together with the BnF will make these significant works readily accessible online to both academics and the general public. For NLI, the digitized manuscripts will be incorporated into KTIV - The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts, a joint venture of Albert D. and Nancy Friedberg through the Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society and the NLI.
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For NLI, the digitized manuscripts will be incorporated into KTIV - The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts, a joint venture of Albert D. and Nancy Friedberg through the Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society and the NLI.
This global initiative aims at making tens of thousands of Hebrew manuscripts from hundreds of collections around the world available online. For the BnF, this partnership considerably advances its commitment to digitize its Hebrew manuscript collection and make it freely accessible online, an undertaking already supported in part by Gallica, the BnF’s digital library.
The BnF holds one of the oldest collections of Hebrew manuscripts. Starting before the thirteen-century, it has grown steadily to become one of the most extensive collections of Hebrew manuscripts in the world. Its volumes encompass many areas of Hebrew literature, including Bible, philosophy, Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), and natural sciences. The BnF’s manuscripts, several hundred of them being richly illustrated, serve as widely-used sources by scholars of Jewish studies and Jewish art. Among the collection's manuscripts are ancient Hebrew bibles from Ashkenaz and France.
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Mr. Oren Weinberg, Director of the National Library of Israel, praised this joint undertaking as a groundbreaking collaboration for its positive implications for both the global academic community and the public at large. “For the first time, large numbers of researchers, students and other curious members of the public will be able to study these important manuscripts and enjoy their rich content.” Weinberg praised the openness of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s president, Mr. Bruno Racine, who facilitated the agreement. “The field will benefit greatly from Mr. Racine’s knowledge of and commitment to large-scale digital collecting.”
Mr Bruno Racine stated: this project is a unique occasion for the BnF to digitize and make known its collection of Hebrew manuscripts. I am pleased to see the BnF stand among other distinguished partners such as the British Library or even the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg in this major endeavor.
About the National Library of France:
The National Library of France (BnF), so named since 1994, is the national library of the French Republic and the heir to the royal collections assembled at the end of the Middle Ages. It traces its origin to the royal library founded at the Louvre Palace by Charles V in 1368. Legal deposit was introduced as soon as 1537. The BnF is a public institution supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Communication. The missions of the BnF are to collect, preserve, enrich and make available the national documentary heritage. The BnF is part of the research infrastructure. It is the largest library in France and one of the largest in the world. Those holdings are unique in the world: 14 million books and printed documents, manuscripts, prints, photographs, maps and plans, scores, coins, medals, sound documents, video and multimedia documents, scenery elements.
All disciplines, whether intellectual, artistic or scientific, are represented in a comprehensive way. The scope of the collections reaches far beyond the strict definition of national heritage including documents such as Hebrew manuscripts. About 150 000 documents are added to the collections each year thanks to legal deposit, acquisitions and donations. The BnF’s digital library, Gallica, provides access to over three millions documents.
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