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Digital Project Demonstration by Frank Mecklenburg (Leo Baeck Institute) 

The Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) is one of the five partners that make up the Center for Jewish History. More than 50 years after its founding, LBI continues to add significant new materials to its research library devoted to the history of German-speaking Jewry.

Notes on the DigiBaeck demonstration at the Center for Jewish History’s “From Access to Integration” conference:

The Leo Baeck Institute has set an ambitious goal: to make the entire LBI archive available on the Internet. That means that 4,000 linear feet of archival collections (10,000 individual collections; 2,500 unpublished papers; 40,000 photos) will be accessible online through DigiBaeck.

LBI hopes to serve three major user groups: academic scholars, genealogists/family researchers and the general public. The plan is to broaden access to LBI’s unique collections, in keeping with a philosophical commitment to openness and a policy framework for open access. The project involves not only digitizing all archival holdings, but also digitally publishing many manuscripts that could not find print publishers but are worth circulating to a wider audience.

The Leo Baeck Institute’s commitment to an open content policy has motivated it to plan to:

  • provide open and free access
  • publish collections using a Creative Commons license
  • promote holdings with third parties
  • and, whenever possible, give any rights and permissions that may be needed for scholars to make use of material in the collections.

There will be various ways to access DigiBaeck, including through DigiTool, the LBI website and search engines like Google. You will be able to log in as a user, store your search history and take advantage of additional e-shelf functions.

Some of the items from LBI’s collections must be converted from microfilm format to digital format before they can be accessible online. The Center for Jewish History’s Gruss Lipper Digital Lab is helping with this necessary work. (To read more about the Center’s digital lab and Collection Management & Conservation Wing, click here.) 

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