Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New Hard Drive

With modern day technology it is now possible to store tremendous amounts of information on hard drives. In the Jewish arena some have begun harnessing this power by placing thousands of seforim on a single hard drive. While there are others, which I hope to discuss at a later date, there is a new such hard drive. This hard drive contains 11,000 seforim and journals. These are searchable to an extent, as I will explain below. This hard drive contains the contents of Copy Corner, which for many years was the place to get reprints of rare and obscure (although important) seforim. Perhaps the greatest feature of the hard drive is the price, while other such hard drives cost in excess of $1,000, this one is $300. The $300 price is really just the cost associated with the drive, and making it searchable.

The hard drive was put together by the person who started HebrewBooks.org, Chaim Rosenberg, which originally was devoted to American seforim and since has moved to encompass a significant amount of other seforim - as the drive is a testament to. Aside from the Copy Corner collection, the drive is heavy in She'elot u'Teshuvot as well as commentaries on the Shulchan Orach, haggadot, and journals. Every book is fully printable and viewable.

Additionally, aside from just viewing a random book, you can also execute searches on all the books. The search process is actually two-step. First you search for a term and it pulls up all the books which contain the term you are looking for, then you search the book, as you would any PDF document for the specific page your term appears. The more expensive hard drives the search function is more streamlined, however, one pays for that ease.

I have been using this for a couple of weeks now, and I am very pleased with the drive. While, it does not encompass everything, that is not it's mission - yet. The hope is to constantly offer upgrades, again for cost, which will add more content. The viewer actually provides a link for feedback. Further, this hard drive does not require that you install anything on your computer rather it runs fully from the hard drive. This is rather convenient if you use it with more than one computer.

In the end, anyone looking for a fairly low cost method of obtaining a significant reference library this can not be beat. It is available from hebrewbooks.org or emailing directly to oldhebrewbooks -at- aol.com. In New York - Biegelisen, Eichlers, Tuvia's all have it as does Judaica Plaza in Lakewood.

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