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Varda Books Launches Online Judaic Digital Library

Skokie, IL, August 01, 2008 --( Schools, libraries, University departments of Jewish Studies, programs of continuing adult education, JCCs, and synagogues can now deliver large amount of authoritative Judaica to their patrons in a timely and easily digitally accessible fashion.

Varda Books, a leading publisher of English digital Judaica, has announced the availability of online editions of some of their most popular databases, including Judaic Scholar Digital Reference Library, JPS Digital Torah Library, Rabbinic Bookshelf, Hebrew Bible: Text and Commentary, Sepharad: the Essential Library, International Critical Commentaries on the Holy Scriptures: Tanakh, S.R. Driver - U. Cassuto Collection, War against Israel, The Jewish Encyclopedia, Hastings’s Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics and others.

These databases feature hundreds of essential Judaica titles licensed from leading publishers and made available under a variety of different access models. This is the first time that a complete original text of the Bible has been published online without requiring the users to install specific fonts on their computers. The technical core of the Judaic Digital Library is built on a Secure Searchable Image Format (SSIF), which allows for the publication of online authoritative electronic editions of the most typographically complex books without resorting to a rough scan in PDF format.

“People have been asking us to make online editions of our books available as an online library and now we are able to deliver just that along with value-added features,” says Alexander Gendler, Founder and CEO of Varda Books.

Unlike scanning similar books and converting them into a PDF format, the Judaic Digital Library has search capabilities, either by individual books or as a collection. The pages of each book are re-created from scratch to mirror the original edition page for page. Each of these pages has a sophisticated navigation system and the Table of Contents and Subject Index in every book is linked to the corresponding pages. In addition, the endnote references have been hyper-linked.

As an added feature, students and scholars alike will find a great benefit in being able to electronically bookmark, highlight specific passages and annotate the digital copy with personal notes and comments that can be shared with others. There are also email functions as well as the STUDY-BUDDYTM which allows users to simultaneously share pages and see comments being written in real time in order to promote understanding and discussion with others through a virtual learning environment.

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Varda Books
Marina Ricci

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