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yadarchiveIn line with Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, the search engine giant has partnered with Yad Vashem to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a new project that aims to preserve the world’s largest historical collection on the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem, a Jerusalem-based archive, is devoted to the documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. With the Google partnership, its photo collection will be easier to search and encourage visitors to share personal stories and thoughts. Sharing is a key word in the Google partnership. By making the photos more accessible, Yad Vashem expects people around the world to contribute more stories behind the photos and add their knowledge to the site.

“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,” says 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.”

Currently, 130,000 photos from Yad Vashem’s archive are 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 technology to carry out this project, making previously difficult to locate documents searchable and discoverable online.

“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,” says Yossi Matias, Director of Google’s R&D center in Israel. “We’re privileged to be able to work with the world’s foremost Holocaust archive on this project.”

The collections are visible at http://collections.yadvashem.org/photo.

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