The New Yad Vashem Visual Center
Access to all the films and to thousands of testimonies through an Internet portal
The Yad Vashem memorial site selected the Technological Division of Matrix to establish its Internet portal based on IBM’s WebShpere portal system. The portal provides visitors at the new Visual Center access to all the films produced about the Holocaust and to tens of thousands of survivor testimonies. Matrix also integrated the various computerized systems in the organization, including the computerized archive.
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by an act of the Israeli Knesset. Since its inception, Yad Vashem has been entrusted with documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust period, preserving the memory and story of each of the six million victims, and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come through its archives, library, school, museums and recognition of the Righteous Among the Nations.
The Archive collection, the largest and most comprehensive repository of material on the Holocaust in the world, comprises 62 million pages of documents, nearly 267,500 photographs, and thousands of films and videotaped testimonies of survivors. These may be accessed by the public, read and viewed in the appropriate rooms.
The Visual Center is adjacent to the new Holocaust History Museum and it is part of the new museum complex. It provides youths, authors, researchers and educators access to Holocaust-related films of all genres by name, subject, and place.
The Yad Vashem Visual Center is an international knowledge center, unique in its cinematic work on the subject of the Holocaust. Yad Vashem used advanced technological tools to collect and catalogue films of every type about the Holocaust. The objective of the Center was to enable the viewing of tens of thousands of survivor testimonies from the Yad Vashem collection, and later also from the collection of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg.
Computerization of all the databases of Yad Vashem is a unique national project and technological challenge. Establishing the infrastructure for managing the enterprise knowledge by integrating the various computerized systems in the organization, including the computerized archive, are complex tasks. Matrix was commissioned to complete the project in a short time and under a tight schedule.
The new Visual Center was established through the contribution of Daniella and Daniel Steinmetz in Israel and the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg.
Says Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem: “The visual language is the international language in our generation, and it will only grow stronger in the next generation. The biological fact that the generation of survivors is vanishing increases the importance of this language in memorializing the Holocaust. The Center will encourage research in the fields of cinema and the Holocaust and will serve as a first rate educational tool.”
Matrix was able to set up the portal under a very tight schedule and to deliver the required outputs thanks to the extensive knowledge and experience that the company has accumulated in the area of enterprise portals in general and in the area of IBM technologies in particular. Michael Liber, head of the Information and Communication Systems Division at Yad Vashem, explains that “this is an additional step in the development of the Yad Vashem computerized systems in the service of the public through the Internet and Intranet, using advanced technologies. Use of the portals platform enables Yad Vashem to transfer the applications from the internal systems to the Internet at low cost and maximum preservation of the investment.”
Amir Shari, group leader in the Technology Division of Matrix, says: “The enterprise portal provides users individually tailored access to a range of applications, a collection of services, and distributed contents. The WebSphere portal is the leading product in the field of enterprise portals and forms a powerful technological infrastructure for knowledge management, integration between systems, and the development of information systems. The product is based on Java/J2EE technology, and considered to be particularly flexible and well-suited for development in a multi-system, multi-platform environment. The broad functionality provided by the system produces a strong infrastructure for site management, navigation, and portal management, deployment of applications on the portal, authorization and user management, and the integration of information from enterprise systems using standard development methodologies and technologies.”
The Technology Division of Matrix carried out the project in record time. The division’s tech. experts specialize among others in setting up Internet sites, enterprise portals, and development in an Internet environment, development in an environment of mixed databases and different operating systems, the setup of content management systems, and more. The division develops products in the most advance environments in existence today, .NET and Java, and uses advanced tools from such international vendors as IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle. The Technology Division of Matrix has developed methodologies and best practices that enable the delivery of successful projects in the service of the advanced business models of its customers. The division avails itself of all the infrastructures needed to support technological projects, including developers in all fields, infrastructure and data security experts, DBAs, user interface experts, QA team, and more.
Yad Vashem is a memorial organization of national importance. Its professional requirements are of the highest order. A central element in the successful completion of the project is understanding the needs of a unique organization such as Yad Vashem and providing a proper answer to these needs. Deployment of the portal system can be complex despite the fact that it is user friendly and easy to use. Matrix met the tight schedule and provided the proper solution, which contributed to the success of the project.
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