Four journals have been covered by a pilot, which JSTOR has been working on for the last two years. The four journals are "Tarbitz," "Zion," "Megamot" and "Ofakim B'Geographia." The pilot is due to end in September, when all four journals will go online at JSTOR. Then, the bigger task of scanning all 60 chosen journals will begin.
Israel's academic journals are embarking on a large-scale digitization project. In the coming months, back issues of 60 Hebrew-language research journals will be scanned into an online archive that will be accessible to professors and students both in Israel and abroad. The archive, the first of its kind in Israel, will later be opened to the general public as well.
The digitization will be carried out by the Jewish National and University Library and the University of Haifa library, in conjunction with the online archive site JSTOR, which will store the new archive. Currently, JSTOR maintains online archives for at least 1,000 academic journals and sells them to more than 4,000 institutions worldwide.
The archive will not include recent issues of the digitized journals, so as not to hurt the publishers' revenues. There will be an embargo of three to five years, depending on what the journals themselves decide.
The libraries chose the 60 journals from a list of between 130 and 140 possibilities, in consultation with researchers from various fields and librarians from all the universities and colleges. The number of journals was determined by economic considerations.
The journals will be scanned in full and will be fully searchable. Each article will also include links to other relevant articles in the database.
To access the archives, institutions will have to take out a subscription with JSTOR. When the project is completed, ordinary citizens will be able to access the archive for free via the national library's website.