“A-Z” – The Archives Network Israel Project, is part of the “Landmarks” Project for the Preservation and Rehabilitation of Israeli Cultural Heritage of the Israeli government Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, a national enterprise to boost preservation of cultural heritage material and to use cutting edge methods to increase its exposure and accessibility to the general public. It is a joint project of: “The Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage”, “The National Library of Israel”, “The Israel State Archives”, and the “Association of Israel Archivists”.
The project focuses on the world of archives: there are hundreds of archives of great public, historical and national interest in the State of Israel, containing unrivaled historical sources which describe the history of the State of Israel, its story from as far back as the beginning of the Jewish settlement, and the movements and personalities who were active in it. Here, several dozen of the leading archives display millions of items never previously published online.
The “A-Z” Project revolutionizes how we relate to our past. For the first time, the general public is given free, direct and convenient access to archive collections replete with historical items which were previously difficult or even impossible to access. These archives deal with many aspects of the history of the State – politics, society, economy, settlement, education and more. Their source items are extremely diverse – letters, historical certificates, recordings, movies, posters, photographs and more. The project portal will enable researchers and anyone interested to carry out a smart search in a large network of archives, receive surprising results of different kinds of material, cross-check results from different archives and more. Its guarantees that research into the history of Zionism, the Yishuv and the State will continue to develop, and provides the researchers with new tools suited to cutting edge 21st century research.
Another important dimension of the project is that it ensures the preservation of our heritage’s treasures for the future generations. There is an urgent need for digital conservation, as many of the archives lack the suitable physical conditions required to guarantee the long-term survival of the material they contain. Thus, there is guaranteed future access to all the archive’s items from the National Library’s servers, which ensure the material is backed up at the highest standard. Additionally, and more importantly, digital conservation will overcome the changes, expected and unexpected alike, in the fields of hardware and software. Moreover, the foundation is laid for a future ability to derive additional information from the saved files which we are currently unable to derive, and to identify details in them which are not visible to us with the technology currently available.