Dr. J. L. Magnes, the first president of Hebrew University in 1929, envisioned a university press that would spread the teachings and knowledge of Hebrew University. Named after him, the Hebrew University Magnes Press was established in 1949 with four goals: a) Provision for the teaching, research and scholarly needs of the university, b) Expansion of available resources of scholarship in the Hebrew language on Jewish and general topics, c) Publication of works by university scholars and d) Publication of works beneficial to scholarship and mankind, and specifically research in Judaism. In many ways, the Magnes Press has succeeded at those four goals. With nearly 3000 published titles in various areas of scholarship, the Magnes Press has truly expanded the sources of information related to the Hebrew language and the Jewish people.
The Hebrew University Magnes Press was one the first university presses to move into the digital world, but when it made the transition, it worked with an US company that brought many complications with it. With the original system, management of print and digital assets occurred separately. Furthermore, there were many compatibility issues and it was a nightmare to successfully download protected books. In addition, the compatibility issues even continued into pdf formats.
In 2012, the Magnes Press finally decided that it was time to make a change. The press decided to end its contract with its previous solution provider in exchange for CDI Systems’ NetIS. With NetIS, the Magnes Press was able to have everything run from one operation, which brought down expenses, while also avoiding many of the pesky compatibility issues that had originally plagued the press. NetIS integrated the books inventory, granting users with up to date information. In addition, CDI Systems provided a unique solution to specifically market its products to universities. Today, a university can subscribe to a subset of the books offered by Magnes Press, allowing students to read online, without forcing the universities to subscribe to the whole books database. Even further, this system limits the number of pages that can be printed, making it an unreasonable hassle to pirate the books.
The Hebrew University Magnes Press has now worked with CDI for many successful years. They have published many more titles and sold subscriptions to universities around the world. New titles are produced all the time, allowing the press to grow constantly.