EC funds Jewish museums to go digital

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2010
Nineteenth century Sephardi Greek urban costumes from Jewish Museum of Greece.

Nineteenth century Sephardi Greek urban costumes from Jewish Museum of Greece.

Jewish museums and libraries will have their collections ‘digitised’ and will be available online, after a £1.3m grant was awarded from the European Commission for the project.

Jewish collections, including photos of artefacts, books, videos and sound archives from museums like London’s Jewish museum and the British Library, will be searchable online through ‘Europeana’, a search engine for European culture designed by the European Union.

Europeana contains pictures of millions of artefacts and books housed at Europe’s museums, libraries and archives. Users can search and compare items and are then taken to the websites of the individual museums.

Now a £2.6m project named ‘Judaica Europeana’ has won funding to ensure Jewish artefacts are included in the ‘Europeana’ search engine.

The project has been initiated by European Association for Jewish Culture in London and the Goethe University Library, Judaica Collection in Frankfurt am Main.

The European Commission has given funding worth £1.3m to the project, and the rest has been contributed by the cultural insitutions to be featured on the portal.

The project will take two years to complete, and will include collections from the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Paris, the Paris Yiddish Centre’s Medem Library, the British Library, the Hungarian Jewish Archives, Jewish Museum of Greece, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and the Jewish Museum in London.

Academics, students and enthusiasts will be able to begin searching for the items early next year.

Dr Rachel Heuberger, the Head of the Judaica Collection of the University Library at the Goethe University said: “It is a great opportunity for cultural heritage institutions to promote European Jewish culture and to stimulate research.”

Last updated: 2:17pm, February 10 2010