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Searching the VHA

Quick Search
The Quick Search feature allows a rapid Google-like search of all the text catalogued and indexed in the archive. This includes the interview code number, the biographical profile,  keywords and names. Simply enter you search term into the search box and use one of three methods to get your results:

  • An “AND” search, which looks for instances of all your search terms appearing in the same testimony’
  • An “OR” search, which looks for instances of any of your search terms in the same testimony;
  • A phrase search, which looks for instances of a specified phrase in the testimony.

Biographical Search
The Biographical Search looks for biographical extracts taken from Pre-Interview Questionnaires. These extracts contain basic biographical information about the interviewee, such as birth date and city and country of birth, as well as experiential information, such as places of detention or hiding during the war. Biographical extracts are categorized into "experience groups," and only one group may be searched at a time. The vast majority of testimonies are in the "Jewish Survivor" group.

People Search
People Search allows users to search for a specific name among all names in the archive. The archive includes names of people listed by interviewees in their Pre-Interview Questionnaires and names of people who were mentioned during the interviews. Users can search with “starts with,” which allows users to enter part or all of a name, “Exact Match,” which allows users to search for a specific name, and “Contains,” which returns names that are included as part of a larger piece of testimony. Users can also limit their searches by searching by language, gender or project.

Keywords Search
Global Keywords Search allows users to search for segments of testimonies that discuss specific topics, using more than 50,000 geographic and experiential keywords. The majority of the keywords are related to geographic locations, however, a rich collection of keywords has been assigned during indexing to identify important or common aspects of interviewees’ experiences. The Global Keywords Search provides segment-level results from more than 50,000 interviews.

The keyword search requires the user to move keywords into the "Selected Keywords" box using the "Add" button. Keywords may be discovered in the VHA either by typing them into the search box, or by browsing through the "Keyword Choices." The browsing feature works much like browsing through a directory of files on a computer. When you enter a term in the search box and click "Search" you will see the first match for that search term.. Clicking on the "Search" button again will move the viewpoint further down the list to the next match and so on. If your web browser permits pop-ups, the VHA will open a small window when the "Search" button is clicked that shows all of the matches. Clicking on the keyword in the "Keyword Choices" area will reset this search and cause it to begin from the beginning of the list.

All keywords are linked to a time-coded segment of  video testimony. Search results from a keyword search will be presented as a list of segments rather than a list of testimonies.

The Keyword Search uses an OR searching mode by default, unlike the Biographical Search. The search mode can be changed to the AND mode using the choice buttons to the right of the Keyword Choices box.