More Tales from the Teche!
I think I can speak for all the HUC-JIR librarians when I say that we're very excited about the new online Encyclopaedia Judaica (see your local librarian for URL and login instructions). We know that our students and faculty have been eagerly waiting for it and we suspect (and hope) they will use it extensively.
It includes some cool new features including the online Miriam-Webster dictionary and a (machine) translation option. You can translate EJ articles into eight different languages, including Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese, but not Hebrew.
Having said that, there are a few quirks and problems we're finding with it. In no particular order, here are a few things we've discovered:
* There is no spell-checker and very few cross-references. I searched on "Chanukah," "Chanukkah," and "Hanukah" but found no results. "Hannukah" oddly brought me to someone's biography. "Hanukkah" finally brought some results. Disappointingly, there were no helpful messages such as "did you mean Hanukkah"? In the paper index there was one entry for Chanukkah which directed you to their spelling.
* The relevancy rankings could be much better. They apparently rank only by the appearance of the word in the entry and not in the title (unless you searched by title). If you search for "Reform Judaism" you get 34 'hits.' The actual article on Reform Judaism is number 11 on the list - several entries below the article on Orthodoxy! HUC doesn't appear on the list at all.
* Poor editing. My colleagues and I have found many mistakes from incorrect dates, to missing information, to links that send you to the wrong entry.
Let us know what tips and or problems you discover! As always, if you have any questions, ask your local librarian. Happy Searching!