Saturday, February 13, 2010

Europe -- New Project to Digitize Jewish Cultural Collections

Photos at Jewish Museum, Florence. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

Judaica Europea has just been launched -- it's a 3 million euro project aimed at providing internet access to items Jewish cultural interest in the collections of leading cultural institutions across the continent. It forms part of Europeana, a broader EC project to digitize Europe's cultural resources.
Judaica Europeana will work with European cultural institutions to identify content documenting the Jewish contribution to the cities of Europe.

It will digitize 10,500 photos, 1,500 postcards and 7,150 recordings as well as several million pages from books, newspapers, archives and press clippings. The digitized content will be available at
The target audiences are university teachers and students, schools, cultural heritage professionals, cultural tourists and the general public: "anyone interested in the history of European cities or Jewish culture."

The ambitious two-year project was announced this past week, with the launch of its web site. Partly funded by a 1.5 million euro  grant from the European Commission, it will initially involve ten institutions across Europe under the leadership of  the London-based European Association for Jewish Culture and the Judaica Collection of the Goethe University Library in Frankfurt.

Other partners include:
Alliance Israélite Universelle, Paris
Amitié, Centre for Research and Innovation, Bologna
British Library, London
Hungarian Jewish Archives, Budapest

Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw

The Jewish Museum of Greece, Athens

The Jewish Museum London
Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Rome

Judaica Europeana will begin by digitizing millions of pages and thousands of other items selected from the collections of its partner libraries, archives and museums. The next stage will be to aggregate other digital collections on Jews in European cities — wherever they may be.

"Jewish culture has been predominantly text-based; it will be a particular challenge for us to bring in as much audio-visual material as possible," said Lena Stanley-Clamp, the project’s manager and director of the European Association for Jewish Culture.

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