Source: The Forward
After years of work by a small team of linguists, computer programmers, and volunteer editors, visitors to the Yiddish Book Center’s website can now search millions of pages of digitized Yiddish books with the aid of a newly launched computer program.
The program, Jochre, allows users to search for a specific word or phrase and instantly find every mention of it in more than 10,000 Yiddish books. Previously the books, which have been available online in PDF form for a decade, were only searchable by title and author name. It’s no exaggeration, note Yiddish scholars, to say that the software will revolutionize their field.
With Jochre, every Yiddish-reading computer user can now perform searches in a matter of seconds that would have taken a skilled researcher years. Linguists can quickly determine how common a word was at a given time while literary scholars and historians can instantly find which texts reference a writer, historical figure, or topic. Since the Yiddish Book Center’s collection of 10,000 titles constitutes the majority of Yiddish language books, Yiddish literature is now among the world’s most readily searchable literatures.
Now that the work of making the Yiddish Book Center’s collections searchable has been largely completed, the Center’s president Aaron Lansky hopes that Jochre will be adopted by other institutions. For years, Lansky has envisioned the creation of a searchable Yiddish library that would combine the Yiddish Book Center’s collections with those of the National Library of Israel and other organizations to make the entirety of modern Yiddish literature readily accessible to the public.
Read more at The Forward.