Thursday, January 27, 2011

Google Partners with Yad Vashem to Digitize the Shoah

Yad Vashem and Google have begun an ambitious project to digitize the Holocaust museum's extensive collection of materials. 

I find this interesting for a couple of reasons. First, the technology involved in digitizing and using OCR on any large collection of historical documents is always of interest to genealogists. However, perhaps a bigger factor is Google moving more and more into digitizing documents of interest to genealogists and to historians, an area previous served (mostly) by specialty companies and by FamilySearch. Move over,, HeritageQuest, FamilySearch, and others, you have a new competitor and a big one at that.

Starting today, a user can directly access over 130,000 full-resolution photographs from Yad Vashem's photo collection via the Google search page. Google has implemented experimental optical character recognition technology for the project. OCR, it is hoped, will make photographs and other documents lacking in metadata easier to find by search in different languages.

In a statement, Google's Israel research and development director, Yossi Matias, commented that the Yad Vashem project fits into Google's overall mission " to bring the world's historical and cultural heritage online."

No comments: