Four years ago Touro College Libraries debuted its digitization of David Tidhar’s 19-volume Encyclopedia of the Founders and Builders of Israel, which can be found at www.tidhar.tourolib.org. This valuable resource is used by scholars and historians worldwide as well as by the Touro community. Recently, the Encyclopedia reached 1 million hits, and the views continue to grow.
Tidhar compiled this monumental work over a period of 23 years from 1947-1970. It is a “Who’s Who” of the Jewish community of the Land of Israel containing over 6,000 biographies. Touro Libraries undertook the project of scanning and digitizing the work to make it more available to scholars and other readers. The process took nearly four years, and the online version of the Encyclopedia went live in December 2010. It is a Hebrew-language database, but it can be read in English via Google Translate. The site also supports English-language searching using a specialized English to Hebrew transliteration algorithm. After the project was completed, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz wrote, “It is difficult to overestimate the significance of the project.” The site steadily receives between 115 and 300 hits per day from all over the world. It has proven to be a wonderful resource for articles in the Hebrew Wikipedia, which reference Touro’s digital version some 500 times. Though the full-text is fully searchable via Google, over 98% of our users access it directly through www.tidhar.tourolib.org. Meanwhile, Touro College Libraries have been steadily working on additional digitization projects to complement our Tidhar Project. Contributed by: Michoel Rotenfeld, Associate Director of Libraries, Midtown