A special technology to protect cultural treasures

Y-TAL-YA Books guarantees – as never before – the protection, conservation and access to the cultural treasures of Jewish Italy by using specially developed technology. A complex purpose, achieved through a rigorous and shared process. As Gloria Arbib, UCEI project representative, explained to Pagine Ebraiche, the working group met and laid the foundations to organise and begin cataloguing in April 2018.
It was initially agreed to carry out a testing phase focusing on two thousand volumes in some libraries in Rome, Milan, Turin and Genoa. At the end of this phase, between October 2018 and March 2019, the scientific committee was asked to connect to Teca to analyse the first results and allow the working group to collect feedback and suggestions. Thanks to this analysis, it was possible to improve the search function on Teca, so as to be able to search by author, title, place of publication and printer/publisher, both in Latin and Hebrew alphabets.
Searching for an author or place name is difficult since, over the centuries and due to transliteration, it may be written in many different ways. Whereas, through the use of the “authority files” option, the search function is able to identify a name even if it appears in several variants (Abramo, Avraam, Abraham). In April 2019 the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe asked to submit the request to contribute financially to complete the cataloguing.
To better organise the project, it provided Scandata’s Goobi cataloguing and digitisation organising system, which allows interaction between all the actors in the process: photographers upload pictures to the system, the quality control verifies their correctness and immediate link on pictures by cataloguers and the Library. This system allows the working group to operate on the same IT platform at all stages of the procedure.
In September 2019 the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe approved the second phase of the project which involves the cataloguing of about 15 thousand volumes to be carried out in 2020 and 2021. This will be followed by the third and final phase which will allow the registration of all the book heritage in Hebrew kept in Italian libraries.

(Above, one of the texts already available on the website of the National Central Library of Rome – Biblioteca nazionale centrale di Roma).

Both articles about Y-TAL-YA BOOKS project were translated by Antonella Losavio, student at Trieste University and the Advanced school for interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, intern at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.