The Visual History Archive was a principal dataset assigned for student research projects. Each student used text mining and content analysis skills to code one English-language Holocaust testimony from a pre-selected pool of Visual History Archive testimonies of survivors who lived in the Budapest Ghetto in Hungary. In addition to coding a testimony and creating a visual illustration of their data, students also performed an analysis of both testimony-related metadata and the metadata related to the archive as a whole. For their archive-wide analysis, students were required to investigate who are the archive’s subjects and which cases of genocide and mass violence are featured in it. They were encouraged to think about the ethics of the archive and its use, as well as the archive’s pros and cons. For their analysis of a specific survivor testimony, students were asked to examine the type of metadata provided about the survivor and to analyze this metadata.
Each student coded one testimony from a pre-selected pool of VHA testimonies. They coded the intensity of survivors’ emotional responses in relation to another variable of their choice, such as age and gender. While each student coded one testimony, they worked together to build collective datasets in a shared online spreadsheet and devised a collection of questions of interest, including whether women hesitate more when talking about their experience, or do Hungarians talk more positively about fellow Hungarians, and similar. Each of the students in class chose to focus on a specific dependent, target, or variable they identified in data. For example, students discovered that women pause more than men when recounting their traumatic experience.