The On-line Hebrew Book: The Virtual Library

Meir Bar-Ilan

The aim of this paper is to discuss the advantages of the digital on-line book by demonstrating its advantages in two exemplary projects: The Historiacl Hebrew Dictionary and the collection of bullae compiled (partly) by the late archeologist N. Avigad.

After making a differentiation between a ‘living’ against a ‘dead’ book, it is argued that the benefits of on-line books are as follows:
1. there will be no need to wait until books that are long-term projects will be completed (since they will never be).
2. feedbacks for corrections and updating will be immediate.
3. the time between finishing the scholarly research and 'publishing' the data will be dramatically shortened.
4. the on-line book is searchable, a feature that gives added-value to any book and reader.
5. the on-line book will be available for anyone, as part of the global-village vision, and the book will be easier to retrieve.
6. the on-line book, and the on-line library, will cost less money to anyone who is involved: publisher, reader, librarian.

Concerning the issue of who will pay for this metamorphosis of data the answer is three-folds: the state (like in any other library); the advertisements (as in other media), the publishers (that will benefit from the new technology); the reader (like paying for TV or movie).

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last updated: February 22, 1998