Readers of this blog know that I am enthusiastic about the Hebrewbooks.org website. I’ve written about the Internet and the future of learning, when one day the printed book will be a relic of the past.
One concern I’ve been worried about is how we can avoid forgeries that are bound to proliferate. To print a sefer, one must extend a significant amount of cost and effort, thus forgeries are not so prevalent in our time, but in the digital age, Photoshop and some good editing skills will make forgeries easier to accomplish and harder to identify, allowing anyone with an agenda to immediately find company in the Sefer of his choosing.
This has been demonstrated quite vividly by Mississippi Fred’s Robinson Crusoe post.
With relative ease, OTML has cleverly displayed a true
version of a Sefer. I suppose that just as we have seen the proliferation of computer crime and consequently computer fraud detection detectives, so too, as online learning expands, hopefully we will find foolproof ways of ensuring that our Seforim have not been tampered with. In the mean time, hold on to your hard copies.