Leo Baeck Institute works to preserve and promote the history and culture of German-speaking Jews.
Kern-Martin Family Collection
1938Projekt: Developing Holocaust Curriculum in a Challenging Environment
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Expanded Access to Historic Publications
In 2011, the Library began a project to digitize the Library's historical periodical collection. The goal of the project was to increase researchers' access to the Library's historical periodicals while at the same time preserving the original volumes, many of which had become too fragile and brittle for physical handling. With a grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council, the Library created its Periodicals Portal on Internet Archive. The project began with 41 titles, most digitized in black and white using microfilm. Early digitized newspapers and journals included Aufbau (1934–2004), the most important news source for German-speaking refugees in the United States; community newsletters, such as the Israelitisches Gemeindeblatt for Mannheim and Ludwigshafen am Rhein (1922–1938); exile publications like Gelbe Post (1939–1940) put out by Jewish refugees in Shanghai; publications for Jewish professionals like Jüdische Beamten-Zeitung (1919–1920?); and more.
The Leo Baeck Institute Library's digitization project also provided standardized metadata and bibliographic description for each title to facilitate user identification and access. Additionally, fragile and brittle periodicals were stabilized with new enclosures for long-term preservation. With a small, dedicated team of two librarians and one microfilming expert, the Library added over 100 titles to its Portal.
In 2017, the Library's periodical digitization project began a new phase. In cooperation with the Center for Jewish History's Gruss Lipper Digital Laboratory, the Library began digitizing in full color. As part of the project, digitized periodicals were stabilized with new enclosures using the expertise of the Center's Werner J. and Gisella Levi Cahnman Preservation Laboratory. As with its early phase, the Library's digitization project continued to provide high-quality standardized metadata and bibliographic description to ensure user access. With the help of the Center, the Library has added over 100 digitized historical periodicals to its Periodicals Portal, many of which would be hard to find. Newly digitized titles include the Israelitisches Gemeindeblatt of Königsberg (Kaliningrad, Russia), the Führerblätter des Esra, and Die Jüdische Welt of Karlsbad ( Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic). In 2019, at the request of many users, the Library began the work of digitizing sections Aufbau in full color for an improved user experience.