Yad Vashem offered United Jewish Communities General Assembly participants an exclusive pilot opportunity to search its central database of Shoah victims' names online during the 2003 General Assembly gathering in Jerusalem. Yad Vashem will enable global Internet access to its database in June 2004.
For the past 50 years, Yad Vashem has been gathering names and biographical details of Holocaust victims via firsthand testimony of relatives, witnesses, and documented lists. These names are being digitized in the central database of Holocaust victims' names. With approximately four million records of names digitized to date, Yad Vashem's database is the largest resource of its kind in existence.
Yad Vashemג's search system is the most powerful of its type in the world, as it integrates and embodies the knowledge of Yad Vashem's experts. Its sophisticated search indices feature performance which surpasses that of other existing retrieval tools. The system, which was developed at Yad Vashem, enables highly accurate retrieval of information, beyond standard phonetic searches. It takes into account alternative names of people and places, which can result from use of multiple languages, historical changes, and cultural traditions in the source testimonies and documents.