A National Library in the 21st century must integrate the physical space with the digital world. The digital library complements the physical library and substantially expands its possibilities for serving an audience that is physically distant from its location. The digital library is also a key tool for users in the physical building, offering online services and convenient access to its contents. The Library will continue to maintain physical items and will even enlarge and renew its collections, particularly with items that are rare or unique. However, it will give increasing priority to digital formats – in new acquisitions and in developing digital content.
The Library will build a comprehensive technological infrastructure, expand the technological staff and implement information technology in all aspects of its operation. The Library services available in the building (search aids, reserving books, consultation, exhibits, etc.) will also be provided online. The Library will continually add to its collection of digital materials by digitizing materials from the Library’s collections, collecting materials that were born digital and by facilitating access to materials from the collections of other institutions under collaborative arrangements with them. The content will be displayed free of charge if the copyright laws allow. The Library will install advanced search and display tools, including a federated search engine that will simultaneously scan all of the collections, media and formats; subject-specific portals that aggregate information on a given subject for a specific target audience; as well as content tools that enable users and scholars to add content. The Library’s content and catalogues will appear in commercial search engines on the Internet. An open interface will enable external content providers (such as Snunit and the Center for Educational Technology) and entrepreneurs to incorporate the Library’s treasures in their services.
The Library’s digitization efforts will focus on the fields of Judaism, Israel and Hebrew writings, with the goal of making the Library the central provider of digital information in these fields. In addition, the Library will convert materials in the field of Islam (manuscripts, in particular) to a digital format in order to enable the expansion of the collection via collaborative arrangements. The Library will build the digital collections in a subject-oriented approach with the aim of serving a growing audience. The selected fields of content are:
||One-hundred years of Jewish history and Zionism: Material on the history of Jewish communities from the beginning of the Enlightenment Movement to the early years of the state, including newspapers, archive documents, |
pictures, audio-visual material and more. The Ministry of Education’s curriculum focuses on the same time period;
||Jewish cultures and 'the Israeli bookshelf': Collections that reflect modern Israeli culture, including literature, songs and music;|
||Jewish manuscripts – the Bible and manuscripts from the biblical period through the Middle Ages: Manuscripts from the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, sections from the Cairo Geniza and Dead Sea scrolls in collaboration with the Geniza Project and the Israel Antiquities Authority, and additional manuscripts in collaboration with other institutions.|
The Library will examine and experiment with new directions, such as the computer-aided study of manuscripts and ancient texts; digitization services for institutions in exchange for providing a copy for preservation and providing accessibility; collaboration with computer scientists in developing tools for semantic and associative analysis of Hebrew text.