September 26, 2011
Dead Sea Scrolls Now Online With Help From Google
Parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are now available online, with more coming. The Israel Museum partnered with Google to digitize the manuscripts and make them available to anyone with a web connection. The scrolls are so fragile that direct light cannot be shined on them. According to Bloomberg, the Google tool at the site makes it possible to zoom into sections of the image and read its translation in English. The available scrolls include The Great Isaiah Scroll, the Temple Scroll and the War Scroll. Access is here.
This is pretty amazing, as there were controversies in the past as to who could have access and study these cultural and religious materials. Now anyone can get to them. The achievement demonstrates a completely unrelated point as well. I wrote a post recently about Yahoo firing Carol Bartz from her position as CEO. I described with examples how Google appears much more dynamic and willing to spend money and take chances in comparison to Yahoo. This is another example of that. There are hardly any stories in the press these days about Yahoo partnering with someone to do something positive. Love or hate Google, and there are plenty in both camps, it’s nice that they can break political and cultural barriers to make this happen. More details are available on the Official Google Blog. By the way, don’t call them the Dead Sea Squirrels, as some apparently do. [MG]