Sunday, March 08, 2009

Jastrow Online

Over the past few days I have been obsessively going through the free downloads on Google Books. In general, I am a huge fan of the Google Books project - it is a dream of mine that I could do complete library research (with downloading and printing) while sitting at home (preferably in pajamas).

Google has been trying to scan books into their online engines; personally, were I a man with power (=money/elected office), I'd make a law to have every new book loaded online into the Library of Congress. Not scanned - like the googlers - but the actual text: since every book passes through a word processor at one point, this shouldn't be so hard.

Yeah, I know, Napster has killed popular music (note, it hasn't as far as I can tell), so Google Books will kill books. Bull-sheisse. Every author I know (including myself), while they naturally like money, like fame even more. And if a book is available to EVERYBODY at all times, like it would if it were online, then fame is as rapid as a key-word search.

Ahem. Anyway, Google, as part of their book project, has been scanning into downloadable PDFs as many books as they can that have lost their copyright. Which means many century, or more, books are now free for the taking. This includes a lot of Judaica, and that's what I've been plundering over the past few days.

One of the best finds? One half of the famed Jastrow Talmud dictionary is online, free to download: Jastrow: A Dictionary of the Targumim,etc. vol. 2

Volume 1 is still missing as a bulk download (but each page of the original is available here - but grabbing it page-by-page is too arduous for even this obsessive).

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