Ktiv Version 2.0 Overview

Permission to use images from each manuscript is determined by the library or collection holding the original manuscript.  The permission determines what use may be made of the images, for example: share a link, embed a viewer, etc. Please note that there is no option to download or print images of manuscripts on this version of the website.

1. Catalog Information

The information on the Ktiv website, including search results, is based on the information that appears in the Catalog of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts (IMHM) of the National Library of Israel. The catalog was created over the course of the last sixty years and therefore reflects changes in cataloging standards, variations in cataloging styles, and differences in the cataloging of actual physical manuscripts as opposed to microfilm photographs of manuscripts.

As part of the Ktiv initiative we are investing substantial resources to improve the existing catalog. This is a long and complex process that begins with the individual record (for example, correction of wrong entries) and ends with changes to the general catalog (for example, redefinition of fields). In addition to updating the records themselves, we are linking the manuscript records to other internal and external databases, which will enrich the catalog information. We appreciate your patience while we complete this process. We also welcome your comments for improving the catalog entries. You can do this by clicking on the “I have comments or information to add” button on the manuscript page.


2. Information about Participating Collections

The information that appears on the "Participating Collections" pages is based on the original information that appears in the IMHM catalog and in: Benjamin Richler, Guide to Hebrew Manuscript Collections, The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem 2014​. We have also added information received from partner collections. If you have information that you think should be added, please send it to us.


3. Languages

Cataloging of the manuscripts is in Hebrew and most of the information contained in the catalog is written in Hebrew. The Ktiv website interface has been designed in two languages: Hebrew and English. Some of the entries in the original Hebrew catalog such as subjects and script styles have been translated into English and these appear in the advanced search and search results interface and in the individual item pages. Other entries based on the LCSH catalog such as names of places and persons also appear in English. At this stage we are not planning on translating the Hebrew descriptions that appear in the catalog into English.

4. Search Hints

Names of people appearing in Hebrew manuscripts can appear in a variety of spellings. In the National Library of Israel catalog of manuscripts, each author, copyist, etc., is assigned a master name that appears in the catalog record. Alternate spellings are recorded in the catalog, but are not presented in the record. Any search of names will be executed on all forms of the name, however the result will present only the master name. Therefore, a search for the entry “Shlomo HaRofeh” will produce a result showing the entry “Zekharya ben Shelomo Rofe” (which is the master name of Shlomo HaRofeh).​

The same is true for place names. For example, a search for the entries “Vienna” and “Wien” will show results in which only the master name “Vienna” will appear.

1. Files

Many Hebrew manuscripts include several works bound together. Sometimes there is a connection between the works, and sometimes these are items that were written in different periods by different authors and have no conceptual or ideological connection. The fact of their having been bound together is purely circumstantial.  In most of the world’s catalogs these physical manuscripts are cataloged as individual items. In the National Library of Israel, these manuscripts are cataloged as a “collection” of works: the “primary entry”, whose name will always include the word “קובץ”, describes the physical bound manuscript, and “sub-entries” describe each of the works included in it separately.

During a manuscript search, it is possible that the search results will include links to all sub-entries in a volume. By clicking on a particular entry in the search results, the user will be sent to the relevant list for that entry. In the visual display on the page for that item, similar items will appear along with a representative image of the work, and underneath it will be thumbnail images that serve as links to the entries of each of the other works that are bound together in the volume, including a link to the “primary entry”.

To date, all primary and sub-entries of any “collection” are represented by the same thumbnail image – generally from a representative page in the collection. We have now begun updating the thumbnail images so that every work will be represented by its relevant image. Once we complete this process, the images will faithfully reflect the distinct works included in the collection.

2. Queries

We are systematically checking and refining the reliability of the Advanced Search queries. If you did not get the appropriate results using the advancedsearch, please try the simple search.

3. Manuscripts with multiple volumes

In the case of scanned manuscripts comprising multiple volumes, it is possible at present to see scans of the first volume only. The option to view the scans of the remaining volumes will be available only towards the end of 2017.​

The Ktiv website uses the Primo search engine, as opposed to the National Library of Israel website which uses the Aleph search engine.


1. Number of search results

The data about the search results for the executed query, such as the number of results and the number of items by filter, are correct and up-to- date for the query. However, the total number of catalog records appearing in the search results is limited to 2000.


2. Search logic

The Ktiv site offers a number of search modes

A. Simple Search – Simple Search logic is OR for all words typed into the search field. For example, a search for the value “The National Library of Israel Jerusalem Ms. Heb. 197/25”, which in effect marks a single manuscript, will result in over 13,000 search results which include various combinations of the words in the searched value.

B. Advanced Search – Advanced Search includes a number of search fields, some having only one field (e.g., city) and some that can be duplicated several times (e.g., title). 
Within every search field the search is performed according to AND.
Among several recurrences of the same field (e.g. several “title” fields) the search is performed according to OR.
Among different search fields (e.g. “city” + “title”), the search is conducted according to AND.​

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