Google to put Dead Sea Scrolls online

Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority will upload all of the digitized Scrolls images.

Google Israel Ltd. and the Israel Antiquities Authority will create an online version of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The project will upload all of the digitized Scrolls images together with additional data that will allow users to perform meaningful searches across a broad range of data in several languages and formats, which will result in unprecedented scholarly and popular access to the Scrolls and related research and scholarship and should lead to new insights into the world of the Scrolls.

The Antiquities Authority will use state-of-the-art and innovative high resolution and multi spectra technologies to image the entire collection of 900 Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts comprising 30,000 fragments to make the digitized images freely available and accessible to anyone anywhere in the world on the Internet. The texts will include transcriptions, translations and bibliography. This is the first time that the Scrolls will be photographed in its entirety since the 1950s.

Innovative imaging technology developed by MegaVision Inc. of the US will be installed at the Antiquities Authority’s laboratories in early 2011. The system will enable the digital imaging of every Scroll fragment in various wavelengths in the highest resolution possible and allow long term monitoring for preservation purposes in a non-invasive and precise manner. The images will be equal in quality to the actual physical viewing of the Scrolls, thus eliminating the need for re-exposure of the Scrolls and allowing their preservation for future generations. The technology will also use infra-red light and longer wavelengths to rediscover writing and letters that have vanished over the years, bringing them back to life and facilitating new possibilities in Dead Sea Scrolls research.

The Leon Levy Foundation, with additional major funding from the Arcadia Foundation, and the support of Yad Hanadiv Foundation is financing the project, which will be called The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.

Antiquities Authority director Shuka Dorfman said, “We are establishing a milestone connection between progress and the past to preserve this unique heritage for future generations. At the end of a comprehensive and profound examination we have succeeded in recruiting the best minds and technological means to preserve this unrivalled cultural heritage treasure which belongs to all of us, so that the public with a click of the mouse will be able to freely access history in its fullest glamour. We are proud to be embarking on a project that will provide unlimited access to one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century, crucial to Biblical studies and the history of Judaism and early Christianity."

Google Israel R&D Center director Prof. Yossi Matias said, “We are proud to take part in a project that will share the Antiquities Authority’s national treasures with the entire world. This project will enrich and preserve an important and meaningful part of world heritage by making it accessible to all on the internet. We shall continue with this historical effort to make all existing knowledge in archives and storages available to all."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on October 19, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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