[Mendele] Mendele Personal Notices and Announcements --Spielberg Library now searchable by Yiddish characters

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Wed Jul 4 12:21:36 EDT 2012


Mendele Personal Notices and Announcements

July 4, 2012

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From: Joshua Price JPrice at bikher.org
Date: July 3, 2012
Subject: Spielberg Library now searchable by idishe oysyes

The Yiddish Book Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library, a
fast-growing collection of online Yiddish books, is now searchable in
Yiddish (Hebrew) characters.

The non-profit Yiddish Book Center began digitizing Yiddish books in
1997.  In 2009 it placed 11,000 volumes online, free of charge,
through the Internet Archive (www.yiddishbooks.org).  Those books have
since been downloaded 300,000 times.

Until now, however, the Spielberg Library has been searchable only in
“romanization,” or transliterated English characters.  That’s proved
frustrating for users abroad, for whom the Center’s Library of
Congress transliteration is far from intuitive.

Now, for the first time, new technology will allow users to search for
Yiddish books in their original alphabet.  For example, a reader
seeking a work by Sholem Asch, a best-selling Yiddish writer of the
last century, will no longer have try out variant spellings such as
“Asch,” “Ash,” or “Asz”; a single search for אש will turn up

To make the search process even easier, the Center has added a
“virtual Yiddish keyboard” to its standard search page
(www.yiddishbookcenter.org/books/search). You can also enter Yiddish
characters directly from your keyboard if you have software that makes
this possible.

Because of inconsistencies in Yiddish orthography – Yiddish spelling
wasn’t standardized until well into the 20th century – the Center has
removed diacritical marks (pasekh, komets, dekhele, and pintele) from
atop and beneath the letters.  Yiddish alphabet searching is available
for author, title, and keyword.  Romanized searching remains available
as well.

For details, please see the explanations in About the book search tool

For further information, technical or otherwise, please contact Josh
Price at jprice at bikher.org.

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