Institute News

Nearly 1,000 English Transcripts Added to Visual History Archive

USC Shoah Foundation integrated the first 984 English-language transcripts into the Visual History Archive over the weekend – the first such update since ProQuest began working on transcribing testimonies as part of its partnership with USC Shoah Foundation last year.

The English-language transcripts join 898 German-language transcripts produced by Freie Universität in Berlin that are already available in the VHA.

The transcripts offer a new avenue for scholars and other VHA users to search efficiently within testimonies, said USC Shoah Foundation Chief Technology Officer Sam Gustman. Users can find the moments in a testimony when exact words are spoken by using the transcript’s search function.

“While the existing keywords are very good at bringing together collections of clips from various testimonies, finding the exact spot one may want to look at within a testimony becomes much easier using transcripts,” Gustman said. “The power of the existing indexed keywords plus transcripts will give researchers unprecedented search capability across the 115,000 hours of testimony.”

USC Shoah Foundation staff chose the first 984 English language testimonies to transcribe because they are in the Visual History Archive Online (a subset of 1,866 testimonies accessible to the public) and represent a broad range of experience groups within USC Shoah Foundation’s original Holocaust collection.

In addition to 926 testimonies of Jewish survivors, the transcriptions include testimonies of 22 liberators, 18 rescuers and aid providers, 10 war crimes trial participants, six political prisoners, one homosexual survivor and one Sinti and Roma survivor.

Viewers can see the transcript below the video; there is an option to auto-scroll with the words highlighted as they are spoken.

ProQuest managed production of the transcriptions, with USC Shoah Foundation doing quality assurance to ensure accuracy. However, a new feature has been added to the transcribed testimonies in the VHA: viewers can submit corrections if they notice any errors in the transcriptions, which will be reviewed by USC Shoah Foundation staff. Simply click the flag icon on the right to submit a correction at the exact moment in the testimony when the error occurs.

To view all the testimonies with transcripts, log in to the Visual History Archive or Visual History Archive Online. Click the box next to “USC Shoah Foundation (51,452)” under Holocaust on the left hand side. Then click the Search button next to the search bar. Click “Transcript Available” on the left to narrow down your search to only testimonies with transcripts. You can also filter by language, either English or German.

Additional transcripts will be added in the years ahead as they become available.