The Leo Baeck Institute and the Day of Digital Archives
by David Brown, Leo Baeck Institute
Leo Baeck Institute is home to nearly 4,000 linear feet of archival collections, 25,000 photographs, and thousands of artworks related to the history of German-speaking Jews. Today, the Institute is finished digitizing nearly all of it, plus hundreds of books from the Library collection.
Since 2007, the Institute has worked with Internet Archive and the Gruss Lipper Digital Lab at the Center for Jewish history to put these materials online, starting by digitizing microfilmed collections directly from the films, and then moving on to newer collections, which are digitized in full color and microfilmed for preservation. While staff will be busy working on this project indefinitely - new collections arrive weekly and need to be processed and digitizing - the vast majority of the collections, about 3.5 million images, can now be viewed online at www.lbi.org/digibaeck.
For this series of posts, rather than offer a broad overview of highlights from our collection (which we’ve put online here: www.lbi.org/digibaeck/digibaeck-launch), or a look at the typical workday of one of our archivists (Assistant Project Archivist Timothy Mendenhall offers a look at that on LBI’s twitter at www.twitter.com/lbinyc), we’d like to offer a peek at some very atypical content. LBI archives contain very few moving images, but two amateur films from the 1930s were added this week. They are fun to watch, and they both illuminate the same period of history in interesting and unexpected ways. View them using these links: