Israel’s National Library sees traffic to Arabic sites explode


The National Library of Israel says the number of visitors to its Arabic-language website more than doubled during 2021, thanks to the digitization of its Arabic manuscripts and archives and a massive outreach program in recent years.

JERUSALEM – The National Library of Israel says the number of visitors to its Arabic-language website more than doubled last year, thanks to a growing collection of digitized material and an aggressive awareness campaign in the Arab world.

About 650,000 users, mainly from the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Algeria, visited the English and Arabic sites of the National Library of Israel in 2021, the spokesperson said. from the Zachary Rothbart library.

One of the most visited resources on the Arab website is a newspaper archive with more than 200,000 pages of Arab publications from Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine, said Raquel Ukeles, the library’s collections manager.

“We have been working to educate the Arab world, the Arabic speaking public here in Israel for over a decade, and we have slowly built up a rich set of resources on our websites,” she said. They include digital newspaper archives. , manuscripts, posters, e-books and music, she said. They are freely accessible, allowing curious researchers and web browsers to visit them.

The Jerusalem Library houses an extensive collection of Islamic and Arabic texts, including thousands of rare books and manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Turkish ranging from the 9th to the 20th century.

“We are in the middle of a project to digitize our entire collection, digitize all of our Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts,” said Samuel Thrope, curator of the library’s Islam and Middle East collection. “95% of it is already finished. “

Among the crown jewels in the collection is a 9th century Quran from modern Iran with the earliest known example of Persian written in Arabic script; an illuminated 17th-century Indian manuscript with illustrations from the life of Alexander the Great; and a 16th century Ottoman Turkish text on ophthalmology.


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