Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, was established in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1953. Since its inception, Yad Vashem has been entrusted with documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust period, preserving the memory and story of the victims, and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come through its archives, library, museums, school, and recognition of the Righteous Among the Nations.
Yad Vashem archives collected over the years a vast amount of comprehensive documentation of various kinds. Today, more than sixty years since its inception, Yad Vashem has the world’s largest collection of documents about the Holocaust. In order to preserve the documents for future generations and allowing convenient access to the archives, the materials undergo a process of absorption and professional arrangement, and are stored under optimal conservation conditions.
Yad Vashem institute sought for a way to catalog and index all the names from the Pages of Testimony, commemorating the Jews who perished during the holocaust, and thus to allow simple and convenient access to them on the Internet.
In addition, Yad Vashem wanted to computerize the main archive, the photographs archive, the Righteous Among the Nations (those who risked their lives to save Jews) database, the Holocaust Art and objects collections, in order to allow maximum access to the information. The main object was to manage all the organization’s information in one central system, using one database that will allow professional management and appropriate solution for the needs of each of the various sections – The archives, the libraries and the museum.
Yad Vashem selected the IDEA ALM system, which contains all the necessary components for managing archives, libraries and museums (ALM). The system allows the management of collections, preservation and exposure of heritage assets of archives, libraries and museums in cultural heritage institutions and research centers and handles centrally a variety of types of information-physical, digital and logical, regardless of format, structure and source, including unique support for multilingual catalog information in various languages
All Information databases had been computerized in IDEA ALM, all Testimony pages information had been cataloged and all the names were indexed. The Pages of Testimony have all been scanned and can now be viewed on Yad Vashem online database, and in the 2.6 million names documented in the pages of Testimony and saved in the “Heichal Hashemot” [The Hall of Names]. The photo archive had also been computerized and contains more than 420,000 scanned photographs. The users can find images according to various categories and view them on the Institute website.
The system is also used for managing The Righteous among the Nations data, the Art and objects collections from the Holocaust, the management and retrieval of the audio and video data, and the daily management of the new museum for the holocaust history.
At present the system is used by 700 Yad Vashem people and innumerous end-users all over the world, who can perform searches on the institute website upon all data bases at the same time or on each one separately. Yad Vashem website has been uniquely designed in accordance with the institute nature, using IDEA’s API module and thus allowing all the information that is managed within the IDEA database to be displayed in a well-designed manner on Yad Vashem website.
So far millions of Pages of Testimony have been digitally cataloged, as well as the main archive of Yad Vashem- including about 65 million pages. The system consists of approximately 200 million digital objects (documents, microfilm, etc.), more than 200,000 hours of videos, 20,000 hours of audio materials, and more than 30 virtual databases containing one Petabyte of data and files kept on a central database using the IDEA ALM system of IDEA Information Systems.
IDEA ALM provides an integrated system for managing the many various databases of Yad Vashem. The system allows a full integration between all the different databases within the central database (archives, libraries and museum). In terms of search capabilities the system allows finding each of the 65 million information items in the archive as well as items of different databases including cross-referencing information. In terms of management options, the system enables the management of dozens of different types of material, on one central system, in different languages and in vast quantities.
IDEA ALM, IDEA Internet module, IDEA Multi lingual module, IDEA API (Web Services), Oracle DB, Sybase Enterprise Application Server, WebSphere portal, EMC storage, IIS Web Server.
“Using IDEA ALM we built an integrated system that enables us to locate each of the 65 million pages. The system is very flexible and the text retrieval is smart and powerful, enabling each user to search freely across the databases. IDEA ALM is our information ERP system”.
Michael Lieber, Yad Vashem’s Chief Information Officer