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Einstein Archives Online

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 19 March 2012
in Images that speak for themselves

Teachable Moment: Anyone interested in history of science would love these archives.  From his notes deriving his famous equation to his love letters this is a treasure trove of information that humanizes this great scientist.

The Einstein Archives Online Website provides the first online access to Albert Einstein’s scientific and non-scientific manuscripts held by the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, constituting the material record of one of the most influential intellects in the modern era. It also enables access to the Einstein Archive Database, a comprehensive source of information on all items in the Albert Einstein Archives.


From 2003 to 2011, the site included approximately 3,000 high-quality digitized images of Einstein’s writings. This digitization of more than 900 documents written by Einstein was made possible by generous grants from the David and Fela Shapell family of Los Angeles. As of 2012, the site will enable free viewing and browsing of approximately 7,000 high-quality digitized images of Einstein’s writings. The digitization of close to 2,000 documents written by Einstein was produced by the Albert Einstein Archives Digitization Project and was made possible by the generous contribution of the Polonsky Foundation. The digitization  project will continue throughout 2012.


The site enables access to the online version of the Albert Einstein Archives Finding Aid, a comprehensive description of the entire repository of Albert Einstein’s personal papers held at the Hebrew University. The Finding Aid, presented in Encoded Archival Description (EAD) format, provides the following information on the Einstein Archives: its identity, context, content, structure, conditions of access and use. It also contains a list of the folders in the Archives which will enable access to the Archival Database and to the Digitized Manuscripts.


From 2003 to 2011, the Archival Database included approximately 43,000 records of Einstein and Einstein- related documents. Supplementary archival holdings and databases pertaining to Einstein documents have been established at both the Einstein Papers Project and the Albert Einstein Archives for scholarly research. As of 2012 the Archival Database allows direct access to all 80,000 records of Einstein and Einstein-related documents in the original and the supplementary archive. The records published in this online version pertain to Albert Einstein’s scientific and non-scientific writings, his professional and personal correspondence, notebooks, travel diaries, personal documents, and third-party items contained in both the original collection of Einstein’s personal papers and in the supplementary archive.


The Einstein Archives Online provides access to the published versions (in PDF format) of 2,000 digitized manuscripts, as they appear in the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. This edition presents the documents in their original languages with annotations as well as  English language translations. Publication information on all volumes of the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, edited by the Einstein Papers Project is also accessible via the publisher Princeton University Press.


The core collection of Einstein's papers was accumulated during Einstein's lifetime and was expanded over several decades after Einstein's death by Helen Dukas, Einstein’s secretary in Princeton, NJ, in collaboration with Otto Nathan, the Executor of Einstein’s Estate. These materials were organized in the 1960s by Helen Dukas, in consultation with Gerald Holton.

The archival database was initially established in the late 1970s by John Stachel, the founding editor of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, as an electronic control index for the original “Dukas” collection. We are especially grateful to Alice Calaprice, who first entered the archival information into a computerized database from 1978 to 1980. Our apologies go to many others who cannot be mentioned here, but have since worked on the electronic data, which was adapted over the years to changing computer technology. In its present form and content, the database is the result of occasional additions and revisions and of a recent unification of separate databases. These had been independently maintained at the Einstein Papers Project and the Albert Einstein Archives for their respective purposes. Systematic revisions have only recently been initiated.

References: http://www.alberteinstein.info/

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