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Genocide survivor testimonies advance research and learning in University’s growing Holocaust education program

ANN ARBOR, MI, November 13, 2017 – Troy University is the first in Alabama to offer its researchers access to the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive®.  Available to academic libraries through ProQuest, this fully streaming, primary-source archive includes more than 55,000 interviews with survivors of and witnesses to some of humanity’s most serious and solemn events, including the European Holocaust, the Nanjing, Rwandan, Cambodian, and Guatemalan genocides and contemporary antisemitism. Access to the Visual History Archive enriches the University’s growing Holocaust education and research program.

In 2008, the Troy University Library used an Alabama Humanities Foundation grant to bring a Holocaust survivor to speak at its three libraries. More than 1,200 people came to hear Ann Rosenheck's story, marking the beginning of an expansive annual program that has included speakers, art installations and collaborations with other institutions. Holocaust scholarship at Troy is renowned and includes author Dan Puckett, a member of Troy’s History faculty. Three professors from Troy sit on the Alabama Holocaust Commission. Now, through the Visual History Archive, this active University library will open new pathways for its students and scholars to study the profound, far-reaching impact of genocide, as well as the political, cultural, and social context surrounding these atrocities.

Dr Christopher Shaffer, Dean of Library Services at Troy University said, “I began a series of outreach Holocaust education programs following an in-country fellowship from the Goethe Institute that I received in 2007. Beginning with the amazing and inspiring Ann Rosenheck, who shared her story of survival and forgiveness, the Libraries have annually hosted Holocaust programming in collaboration with our History Department. I believe VHA will not only be an excellent resource for Troy University's faculty and students, but also for educators throughout the state, who I hope will come to one of our libraries in Troy, Montgomery, and Dothan where they can take advantage of this resource.”

The largest digital collection of its kind, the Visual History Archive encompasses 115,000 hours of interviews, conducted in 62 countries and 41 languages. Each interview is expertly indexed in one-minute segments, resulting in 65,000 searchable terms. More than 1,800 transcripts of Holocaust-related interviews enable granular searching – part of an ongoing project to transcribe all interviews. Designed to empower researcher and student learning, the Visual History Archive also includes tools for studying and sharing testimonies. For example, users can bookmark clips, save projects and embed testimonies in LMS course packs via durable URLs.

USC Shoah Foundation and ProQuest launched an exclusive partnership in 2016 to expand, enrich, and simplify access to Visual History Archive in the academic market. This version surfaces the library’s related ProQuest® content, which can encompass more than a billion searchable items spanning dissertations, news and historical newspapers, periodicals, scholarly journals, and primary source materials – a combination that improves contextual discovery while viewing the video testimonies.

At Troy University, the Visual History Archive will be available to all students, staff and faculty, supporting research and learning across multiple disciplines.

About Troy University

Troy University is a public institution comprised of a network of campuses throughout Alabama and worldwide. International in scope, Troy University provides a variety of educational programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels for a diverse student body in traditional, nontraditional and emerging electronic formats. Academic programs are supported by a variety of student services which promote the welfare of the individual student. Troy University's dedicated faculty and staff promote discovery and exploration of knowledge and its application to life-long success through effective teaching, service, creative partnerships, scholarship and research.

About USC Shoah Foundation (https://sfi.usc.edu/)

USC Shoah Foundation - The Institute for Visual History and Education is dedicated to making audiovisual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, a compelling voice for education and action. The Institute’s current collection of over 55,000 eyewitness testimonies in the Visual History Archive® preserves history as told by the people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Institute works with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes.

About ProQuest (http://www.proquest.com)

ProQuest is committed to supporting the important work happening in the world’s research and learning communities. The company curates content that matters to the advancement of knowledge, assembling an archive of billions of vetted, indexed documents. It simplifies workflows so that people and institutions use time effectively. And because ProQuest connects information communities, complex networks of systems and processes work together efficiently. With ProQuest, finding answers and deriving insights is straightforward and leads to extraordinary outcomes.

ProQuest and its companies and affiliates – Ex Libris, Alexander Street, Bowker – stand for better research, better learning, better insights. ProQuest enables people to change their world.

13 November 2017


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