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Each month, the Yiddish Book Center asks a member of our staff or a friend to select favorite stories, books, interviews, or articles from our online collections. This month, we’re excited to share with you picks by Amber Kanner Clooney, our director of web development and the digital library.
Assaf Urieli: Computational Yiddish Linguist
This article was originally published in Pakn Treger, our print magazine, in 2012 and tells the story of Assaf Urieli, a computer scientist and linguist who is working on using machine learning to process scanned images of Yiddish books into searchable text (optical character recognition). Seven years after this article was published, we launched our full-text search site, which uses Assaf’s software to process nearly our entire collection of scanned books with OCR and make them available in full text. This has revolutionized the world of Yiddish scholarship, as OCR users may now type in any Yiddish word to the search engine to find each instance of its usage across almost all our digitized Yiddish books.
Yidishe kinder, by Kadia Molodowsky
Molodowsky’s Yidishe kinder is a great book for beginners in Yiddish, with its simple verses and lively sketches by Mane Katz. It’s one of my favorite books in our Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library, and it’s something I use as an example to illustrate the challenges and intricacies of processing OCR, as the machine attempts to process the pictures into Yiddish text with nonsensical results. OCR is still a work in progress, but we are improving its accuracy every day.
Every Sunday Was a Holiday: Discovering Comic Strips in Newspapers
As a librarian, my work is in organizing and making collections accessible. This short excerpt isn’t about a library collection, but it shows the importance of making art and literature accessible to everyone and how they can pull us through difficult times.
Adventures of a Bad Researcher: The Mystery of the Last Yiddish Linotype
On the themes of print and literature, this article is an investigation of one of our most popular museum pieces, the Yiddish Linotype, and its journey to the Center and the stories we tell about it.
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