Some of the most ancient collections of scrolls have been digitalized, Google being the helping hand in the process. The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library has been instigated with the purpose of bringing together the factions of ancient scrolls in digital format. The collection consists of more than 5,000 images of the Dead Sea Scrolls provided in a brilliant quality, never experienced before.
The website has been launched on the 65th anniversary of the discovery of these scrolls. These scrolls were first discovered by a shepherd who was looking for his wandering goats along the hills of Qumran caves. At first, some of these scrolls were sold to universities, monasteries and interested decipherers but then the discovery excited the global audience with its enigma. Even after thousands of these were excavated, it was not easy for the public to get hold of the information on the scrolls.
The latest website assists scholars and general public around the globe to get the minutest details on the scrolls, details that usually cannot be seen with a naked eye. Every segment shows infrared and colored images at 1215 DPI resolution. The images can be seen at 1:1 scale providing the exact quality of the original scrolls onto the screen. Google is the major facilitator in the process as all the important technologies like infrared, use of Google maps, image technology and YouTube have been provided by Google, including the hosting service for the digitalized scrolls.
The collection has been launched at the time when Christmas holidays were just beginning. The collection consists of the most primitive known copies of the Ten Commandments, Deuteronomy, Book of Psalms and a lot more.
“We are privileged to house in the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book, the best preserved and most complete Dead Sea Scrolls ever discovered. They are of paramount importance among the touchstones of monotheistic world heritage, and they represent unique highlights of our Museum’s encyclopedic holdings. Now, through our partnership with Google, we are able to bring these treasures to the broadest possible public.” James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher, Director of Israel Museum, said.
Professor Yossi Matias, the Managing Director of Google’s R&D Center in Israel, said: “The Dead Sea Scrolls Project with the Israel Museum enriches and preserves an important part of the world heritage by making it accessible to all on the internet. Having been involved in similar projects in the past, including the Google Art project, Yad Vashem Holocaust Collection and the Prado Museum in Madrid, we have seen how people around the world can enhance their knowledge and understanding of key historical events by accessing documents and collections online. We hope one day to make all existing knowledge in historical archives and collections available to all, including putting additional Dead Sea Scroll documents online”
In 2011, the Israel Museum put five manuscripts online, also in collaboration with Google. The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library was provided financial assistance by Leon Levy Foundation, with additional funding from Arcadia Foundation and the Yad Hanadiv Foundation.