Heidi Lerner, a Judaica cataloguer at Stanford University, has highlighted the scholarly value of preserving Jewish Orthodx materials being posted online.
“The research value of these materials to the study of Orthodox Judaism is quite considerable. Scholars have acknowledged the importance of institutional collections of physical ephemera, notably the National Library of Israel (the new official name of the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem); the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s broadside, poster, and “pashkevilim” (public wall posters used for communication in Haredi society) collections; and Harvard College Library Judaica Division’s collection of audio and videotaped sermons. The increasing concentration of such materials on the Web will necessitate new efforts at preservation.”
But doing that is not easy, as Lerner notes.
“The transient nature of these online sources and the difficulties in finding them are ongoing areas of concern that researchers and scholars need to address. There have been many third-party attempts to organize them on portals, individuals’ collections of links, scholars’ Web pages, etc. However, these do not provide systematic indexing or archiving, or any guarantee of longevity.”
I have seen a few attempts to try to organize Chabad-related resources, and I hope that they don’t just disappear…
Read more of Lerner’s article here.
Lerner, Heidi. Researching Orthodox Judaism Online. AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies. Association for Jewish Studies (AJS). Spring 2008: 36-38