The Friedberg Genizah Project

About the Research Platform

website containing the entirety of the Cairo Genizah – manuscripts as well as  relevant research materials produced since 1895 – is the ultimate research instrument for scholars in this field. A website using cutting-edge, sophisticated and simultaneously user-friendly software and interface tools is a dream come true.

The FGP online research platform has four main components: images, Catalogs, Bibliographies and Transcriptions.

Users submit the shelfmark number of the manuscript they wish to research, and the available components of data immediately appear. Every effort has been made to spare unnecessary and time-consuming browsing.

High-quality images (600 DPI) of the digitized manuscripts are displayed, allowing for very powerful magnification through a rich set of viewing tools. There are various ways of magnifying, rotating, inverting, mirroring, changing contrast, colors, luminescence, and more. A unique feature is the “Dynamic Ruler,” which allows for the accurate measuring of linear distances between any two points in a fragment, as well as angles between any two intersecting directions in the fragment. In the future, the "Dynamic Ruler" may serve as an important component of artificial intelligence techniques that will be used for reconstructing fragmented manuscripts.

The site also allows for any requested pair of images – such as the front and back of a fragment, or two fragments with versions of the same content - to be displayed side by side, thus allowing for an easy comparison of their contents.

Finally, a user can search for an image directly through its FGP number, thus avoiding a lengthy route of specifying collection, sub-collection, volume, shelfmark, folio number, and side. A user can also search, in the same query, for images from several different collections to be serially displayed.

Catalog Entries
A catalog entry is a description of a particular manuscript, both in terms of its physical attributes such as size, shape, material on which it is written, script, illustrations; and in terms of its contents, such as language, type of document (e.g., biblical text, legal document, marriage contract) year in which it was written, etc.

Catalogs of the Cairo Genizah manuscripts can be divided into two types: catalogs of a particular collection owned by an institution or private collector; or catalogs of manuscripts related to a particular topic compiled by a researcher.

The Genazim team has located approximately 50 existing catalogs – believed to be almost all the catalogs ever compiled on the Genizah since its discovery 120 years ago. These catalogs were scanned, translated into computer text, appended to their corresponding manuscripts, and will in the future allow researchers to search the Cairo Genizah by type of document, author, year, etc. This stage will be an important landmark in Genizah research, as it will allow scholars easy access to all documents related to their area of study.   

Bibliographical References
A bibliographical reference - one of the most useful items of information to a researcher - is a listing of all places where a particular manuscript is referred to in professional literature. The Cambridge Library, in particular, compiled full bibliographies of all sources citing its Genizah fragments in the period 1900 – 2004.

The bibliographical component of the site currently contains some 120,000 bibliographical references, and includes – in addition to those compiled by Cambridge – some 20,000 references from other sources.

When the user enters the identifying number (i.e., the shelfmark) of one or more manuscripts, all the relevant bibliographical references are displayed in an abbreviated form, which can be expanded.

The list can be sorted by year (and then by author) or by author (and then by year). Moreover, the list can be filtered to include references from publications that satisfy one or more of four criteria: language, author, journal/book, and the way the fragment is mentioned in the publication.

These capabilities represent completely new tools in Genizah research and open new horizons for researchers worldwide.

In this component, transcriptions, citations and translations of Genizah manuscripts are displayed. This is especially significant in Genizah research where many of the manuscripts are written in languages that are not well known, such as Judaeo-Arabic, Judaeo-Spanish and Judaeo-Persian.