Holocaust Historical Data Goes Digital

January 26, 2011

Source: Associated Press


Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, is teaming up with Google to make its photographs and documents interactive and searchable on the Internet. The first 130,000 photos hit the web Wednesday. Although much of Yad Vashem's archive was already available through its formidable website, the new project enables users to search keywords and data just like a Google search.


The images contain searchable metadata to make locating relevant images easier. Among the metadata available are tags for names of people in the picture, location, date, name of the photographer, name of contributor of the image and accreditation information.


The metadata will make it easier for researchers to find historical information by using Google search. Visitors to the website will be able to search names of Holocaust victims or survivors, or names of towns and villages. The site can help young people interested to write about their families who went through the Holocaust.


A social network-like component allows viewers to contribute to the project by adding their own stories, comments and documents about family members who appear in the online archives.


The project started three years ago in the Tel Aviv building that houses Google's research operations in Israel. It was inspired by a Google initiative encouraging employees to spend 20 percent of work time on projects they feel are important.


Google used experimental optical character recognition technology to make text within documents and photos searchable in multiple languages.


The launch comes a day before the U.N. marks its annual Holocaust remembrance day on January 27.

Updated: Feb. 01, 2011