26 January 2011
Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yad Vashem and Google announced a partnership that will greatly facilitate preservation of and access to the world’s largest historical collection on the Holocaust.
The Jerusalem-based archive is devoted to the documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. As of today, its photo collection will be made more widely accessible for people around the world to search and discover the photographs on its website and share their own personal stories and thoughts. This resource will be valuable to those interested in researching the Holocaust, whether to find out more about family members whose stories are collected in the centre or out of general interest.
This initiative will not only bring this valuable information to a much wider audience worldwide, but it will allow people around the world to contribute, by identifying the stories behind photos and documents, adding their own stories and knowledge to the site.
As of today, 130,000 photos from Yad Vashem’s archive will be viewable in full resolution online. This is a first step towards bringing the vast Yad Vashem archive online over time.
Google has implemented experimental optical character recognition (OCR) technology to carry out this project, making previously difficult to locate documents searchable and discoverable online.
“We’re focused on finding new and innovative ways to make the enormous amount of data in our archives, accessible and searchable to a global audience,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman, Yad Vashem. “Google is an integral partner in our mission, as they help us to reach new audiences, including young people around the world, enabling them to be active in the discussion about the Holocaust.”
“For some time, Google has been working to bring the world’s historical and cultural heritage online. The Internet offers a great opportunity to preserve and share important materials stored in archives,” said Yossi Matias, Director of Google’s R&D centre in Israel. “We’re privileged to be able to work with the world’s foremost Holocaust archive on this project.”
Established in 1953, Yad Vashem holds a great wealth of testimonies, photographs, diaries, and other documentary material.
Today’s announcement is a part of an ongoing partnership between Google and Yad Vashem. Two years ago, Yad Vashem launched a YouTube channel to showcase a series of videos of Holocaust survivor testimonials. The YouTube channel is available at www.youtube.com/yadvashem.
The collections are visible at http://collections.yadvashem.org/photosarchive/en-us/photos.html