In an announcement on the Google Official Blog, the company has announced a partnership with Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem-based center for remembering the Holocaust's victims and survivors, to bring their collections of photographs and documents to the web.
The announcement came a day before of the UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The blog entry tells the impact the museum's vast historical record caused on Jonathan Rosenberg, Google Senior Vice President, Product Management. At that time he hoped Google could do something powerful to showcase this information.
As a result a few Google employees worked in their “20% time” with Yad Vashem and eventually grew our effort into a full project, introducing a YouTube channel in 2008 and now this collections site.
Google employees can use 20% of their time on any project of their choice and initiative.
Within the archive you will find more than 130,000 images in full resolution. You can search for them via a custom search engine on Yad Vashem’s collections site. And by using experimental optical character recognition (OCR), the team have transcribed the text on many images, making them even more discoverable on the web. This means that if you search for the name of a family member who was in the Holocaust, you might find a link to an image on the Yad Vashem site.
To experience the new archive features yourself, try searching for the term [rena weiser], the name of a Jewish refugee. You’ll find a link to a visa issued to her by the Consulate of Chile in France. OCR technology made this picture discoverable to those searching for her.
Yad Vashem encourages users to add personal stories about images that have meaning for you in the “share your thoughts” section below each item.
The Yad Vashem partnership is part of Google's larger effort to bring important cultural and historical collections online. We’ve been involved in similar projects in the past including digitizing major libraries in Europe, collections at the Prado Museum in Madrid, and the LIFE photo archive.