Page 123 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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OFFENBACHER / THE JEW ISH STUDIES M ICROFICHE PRO JECT
tually, the rising popularity of microfiche use was achieved
thanks to the availability of simple bu t highly effective Readers.
Although the solution existed, a large investment was re-
quired to make it possible. T he writer presented the idea to
various micropublishers, and the In ter Documentation Company
(IDC) of Switzerland, the largest European firm in the field,
took up the challenge. A general outline wras prepared for what
came to be known as the “Jewish Studies Microfiche Project.”
More than 10,000 rare or out-of-print volumes were to be selected
in order to be converted into microform. The actual copying
started in the Fall of 1975. By now, more than half of this
large project has been completed.
IN IT IA L STEPS
Before getting under way, however, extensive preparations
had to be made. An editorial board was set up with Dr. David
Patterson, principal of the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate
Hebrew Studies, as general editor. The writer was appointed
project advisor. In the main, the project was to rely on a dis-
tinguished international panel of collaborators from the He-
brew University, Tel-Aviv University, Bar-Uan University and
Ben-Gurion University in Israel, and from University College
and the Institute of Jewish Affairs in the United Kingdom.
In addition, well-known specialists were invited to join the
panel, including S. Shunami, the noted bibliographer, and
G. Kressel, the leading expert on the Hebrew periodical press.
Each member of the panel was requested to draw up a list of
about 100 of the most needed monographs and serials in his
special field of expertise for inclusion in the “first round” of
the microcopying program. These lists were discussed with
scholars, university teachers and librarians in the United States,
Canada and various European countries in order to accom-
modate them to the actual needs of academic institutions.
Further suggestions were received and incorporated into the
program.
Once the lists were completed, the originals of the items had
to be located for subsequent copying. Here IDC had the good
fortune to receive generous cooperation from various leading
libraries, including the Jewish National and University Library