National project – Revealing Israel, the State of Israel Family Album


The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, in charge of the “TAMAR” [National Heritage Infrastructures] venture led by the then Prime Minister Secretary Tzvi Hauser and Mr. Reuven Pinsky, has chosen Yad Ben Zvi Archive to lead the “Revealing Israel” (Israel Ha’niglait La’ayn) project for gathering storing and cataloging photographs of the communities in Israel, and exposing them to the public on a designated web site. The project started out celebrating 100 years of Tel Aviv, and involved the collecting of 30 thousand images from families in the city. Yad Ben Zvi added 50 thousand albums of Jerusalem families. During the following phase, 20 thousand images were collected from families in Kiryat Shmona, Rosh Ha’ayin, Sderot and Yeruham.
The project represents the laying of the cornerstone of the government’s plan to empower national heritage. Further emphasis has been placed on computing the historical archives in various communities, which as of today are not computerized.

Business Challenge

Yad Ben-Zvi was looking for a software vendor for computing the photos, cataloging, categorizing, storing and exposing them to the public. In addition, the main requirement of the project was the construction of a designated Web interface that will display all the materials collected and cataloged, and enable friendly display of them.

The Solution

The project of a Web photo-archive construction for “Revealing Israel” is a joint venture of Idea Information Systems, and CDtech Company that specializes in developing web applications and building Web IT sites. Idea provided the infrastructure for cataloging and retrieving information using the IDEA Arc system, which enables managing dynamic information, and makes the information stored in the archives accessible to the public. The system includes unique archival features such as automated inheritance of data of records from different collections, hierarchal linking among the various levels of the administrative structure of the archive, the management of the accession book and more. The system supports the international standards accepted in the archival world (ISAD G, EAD,ISAAR) And thus enables advanced data sharing between archives and communication between different systems, forming the basis for integration with collective catalogs and international portals.
Cdtech Company was responsible for the development and design of the website dedicated to the project, allowing flexible display, user-friendly and attractive, that includes all the functionality that exists in the cataloging and retrieval of IDEA Arc system.
The interfacing between the two systems – the IDEA Arc and Cdtech Company is maintained via the API module of Idea.


Since the project includes collecting a lot of data from many sources by many people in the field, a special and unique mechanism was developed to allow a completely automatic absorption and cataloging of data from all the cities (pictures and metadata) within the IDEA Arc system. This makes the accumulating of materials and the cataloging an easy and efficient process.
The cataloging process works as follows: the people in the field fill in the items details in an excel document and scan the pictures in the family home. The data is then being transferred – both pictures and excel file – to the documentation center manager who registers and saves them in the FTP directories on IDEA’s hosting site. There, the new data is being identified and imported automatically into new records in the IDEA Arc catalog and all the pictures are linked to the relevant record in the catalog.
The main materials cataloged in the system are photographs of local residents, arranged in family albums, accompanied by documented information about the actual images and general information about the family. The site serves both as a tool for the teams working on  documenting and cataloging albums, as well as a repository for getting information and viewing the pictures for the public.
All the documentation centers are computerized by IDEA Arc system, managing the information on a single common database. The central database is divided into thirteen virtual databases, each database containing the cataloged albums of the specific town’s families. This enables the public to perform fast and easy searches on all the cities and settlements together or separately, on a unified catalog designed in accordance with the nature of the project.
For optimal performance and support of all documentation centers throughout Israel, the system was installed in IDEA’s advanced server farm, and the company provides professional hosting services for the project (ASP), such as database maintenance, backups, restores, updates and information security.
So far, 13 documentation centers have already been launched in Yeruham, Kiryat Shmona, Yad Ben Zvi, Rosh Ha’ayin, Sderot, Tel Aviv, Ma’alot, Raanana, Atlit, Kiryat Tivon, Kiryat Bialik and Rishon Lezion. The project is in constant growth, and in the coming years, 20 more communities across the country are expected to join in.

The Benefit

Using Idea’s system allows the display of all the original cataloged material (images and metadata), of the Web image-database. The program provides smart and friendly exploration of all the communities together, or just one community. The impressive display of the unique interface gives access to all public images with ‘home fragrance’, indicating the long road made by the State of Israel through the eyes of the private family, and presents the life stories interwoven in the developmental towns, communal settlements, the new settlements and cities.

The Technology

API, Hosting, , IDEA Arc, MS SQL database Online internet portal

 Revealing Israel site 

Mr. Zvi Hauserת the cabinet secretary:
We intend to go from town to town and save pictures of tremendous value that are being lost and degraded. This is the State of Israel’s unofficial history. If we do not record these photos, they will be lost. Thanks to this project everything will be saved as in a time capsule

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