Arolsen Archives Initiates Crowd-Sourcing Project: Every Name Counts #holocaust #announcements

Jan Meisels Allen



The Arolsen Archives has initiated a crowd-sourcing project: Every Name Counts. It’s a call to assist the  Arolsen Archives in making 26 million newly digitized historical documents searchable by anyone online.  See:


The project was originally launched to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day last January. Twenty schools near the archive in Bad Arolsen, Germany, were involved in a limited pilot, and there were plans to expand the project in 2021. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic people all over the world are at home and are now volunteering.  Before the pandemic the Arolsen Archives only used outside companies. Their own staff and artificial intelligence to do the indexing.


There are currently some 7,000 registered volunteers, but it is not necessary to register to participate.


The project’s online interface that requires going through original documents and then type basic information — name and birthdate — into a database. The names must be typed in correctly by at least two different people, and then checked again by the archives staff. Software that takes into account various spellings of names is employed. Conflicting entries are referred back to the archive’s staff of professional archivists and historians, who monitor discussion boards to answer questions about cryptic abbreviations, professions and confusing names. The project is being hosted on the Zooniverse platform, which is a crowdsourcing platform that allows volunteers to contribute to academic research projects by analyzing large data sets a little bit at a time.


The Arolsen Archives is committed to making all the names in its vast holdings searchable online by 2025.


See:   There is a link to a  3-minutes video about the project included in the article.

See also:


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


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