Some 120,000 books from the collection of the National Library of Israel will be accessible online in a few years.
The digitization process is a collaboration between the institute and Google. It is already underway and is expected to take about two years, according to the library.
The process is complex. The books must be shipped in containers that meet strict climate-control and security requirements as they are moved from the library, which is in Jerusalem, to Google’s digitization center in Germany.
The collection includes the library’s out-of-copyright books. About 45 percent of the texts are in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Ladino; the rest are in Latin, English, German, French, Arabic, Russian, and other languages.
The collaboration is part of the Google Books project, which includes more than 40 million books from more than 70 major libraries in the United States, Europe, and Japan, as well as from thousands of publishers. It includes books in more than 400 languages.
“We are very happy to be working with Google in fulfilling our mission to open access to the treasures of Jewish, Israeli, and universal culture for diverse audiences across the globe,” Yaron Deutscher, the head of digital access for the National Library, said. “More specifically, it is a significant contribution to our work opening digital access to all books published in the first 450 years of Hebrew printing.”