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Yiddish books online (free!)

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  • Suzanne Smailes
    Hello, everyone- For anyone interested in Yiddish books,you may be interested in this news release. It s a bit lengthy, so the url buried in the text for
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 11, 2009
      Hello, everyone-

      For anyone interested in Yiddish books,you may be interested in this
      news release. It's a bit lengthy, so the url buried in the text for
      access to Yiddish books online is: www.yiddishbooks.org

      A metsieh far a ganef -

      Suzanne

      February 9, 2009
      For Immediate Release

      Contact: Aaron Lansky, 413-256-4900, x103
      Brewster Kahle, 415-561-6767


      DEFYING ODDS, YIDDISH LITERATURE GOES ONLINE

      Amherst, MA –. The full texts of over 10,000 works of modern
      Yiddish literature, comprising the National Yiddish Book Center's
      Steven Spielberg Digital Library, can now be read, downloaded, and
      printed in popular formats, free of charge, at www.yiddishbooks.org,
      or www.archive.org/details/nationalyiddishbookcenter.

      "It's an historic moment for Yiddish culture," says Aaron Lansky,
      founder and president of the nonprofit Yiddish Book Center. "The
      magnificent record of a civilization the Nazis sought to destroy has
      been brought fully into the 21st century." The Center has rescued a
      million endangered Yiddish books and redistributed them to over 600
      libraries and universities since its inception in 1980. Its
      collection, which includes thousands of duplicate copies, is
      believed to represent the majority of known titles published in
      Yiddish.

      The unique new online resource, three million pages in all, is the
      result of an alliance between the Yiddish Book Center and another
      young and intrepid nonprofit organization, the Internet Archive in
      San Francisco. The project grew out of the organizations' mutual
      goal of offering the public unencumbered access to the world's
      intellectual and literary legacy.

      Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, notes, "This is
      the first time a full literature of a people has been available
      online. We hope others follow the Yiddish Book Center's pioneering
      example." The Internet Archive, founded in 1996, offers free access
      to millions of books, music, and movies as well as billions of
      archived web pages. "We're scanning about 1,000 books a day in 18
      locations in five countries, from over 100 contributing libraries,"
      says Kahle. "It is thrilling to see these library collections go
      online."

      The project's numerous technical challenges, including
      accommodation of the right-to-left Yiddish alphabet, were solved step-
      by-step by a small group of staff members, software experts and
      volunteers working via telephone and email from Amherst, San
      Francisco, Silicon Valley and Buffalo, New York. The Book Center was
      in a unique position to post its collection online, since most out-of-
      print Yiddish works are already in the public domain. "In the ten
      years since we first digitized Yiddish books, we've had only four
      copyright queries," Lansky says. "Three of those who called ended up
      making contributions to help defray the cost of reviving their
      parents' long-lost titles."

      Scholars, students, and readers will now be able to access most of
      the original novels, stories, poetry, drama and nonfiction titles
      published in Yiddish over the past 150 years. "Interest in Yiddish,
      especially among young people, has been growing rapidly since we
      rescued our first volumes 30 years ago," says Lansky. "The internet
      is the best way – maybe the only way – to meet the needs of this new
      generation, since our physical copies of the books are becoming more
      scarce and more fragile with each passing year."

      This spring the Yiddish Book Center will open the Kaplen Family
      Building, a brand-new facility on the campus of Hampshire College in
      Amherst, Massachusetts. Together with an existing structure built in
      1997, the Center's 49,000-square-foot complex will house a core
      collection of physical books, as well as classrooms, a performance
      hall, a kosher kitchen, a recording studio, a reference library,
      public exhibitions and other resources. Lansky expects that teaching
      and learning about Yiddish culture will be transformed by the ready
      availability of the online books. "It opens up the field in ways we
      never could have imagined. There's no limit to the educational
      possibilities."


      For more information about the National Yiddish Book Center, go to
      www.yiddishbookcenter.org, or contact yiddish@.... For
      information on the Internet Archive, go to www.archive.org, or
      contact info@....

      END
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