Paper copies of summarized notes of testimonies in files

Orbis Search Tips

The following is a list of tips to search for the Fortunoff Video Archive’s Holocaust testimonies in Orbis, Yale’s online public access catalog.

Basic Keyword Search

The default search in Orbis is a keyword search. Keyword searches parse catalog records for a specified search term located anywhere in the catalog record. This casts a large net that can result in false search hits, but it is a good place to start. To begin, enter HVT in the search box. This stands for Holocaust Video Testimony, and limits the search to Fortunoff materials only. Next, enter a search term, for example Treblinka. The resulting screen lists the bibliographic records for all testimonies that contain the term Treblinka. Click on the title to view a record, each of which provides an approximately 250-word summary of the testimony and hyperlinked subject headings. The keyword search terms are highlighted wherever they appear in the record. Several keywords can be included in a basic search, Orbis automatically assumes an AND between each keyword.

Truncating Keywords

One technique for broadening a search is to “truncate” keywords using the ? symbol. The truncated keyword HVT Medic? will return records containing the words medic, medical, or medicine in the bibliographic record. The truncated search terms are not highlighted in the bibliographic record.

Searching for Phrases

Place all phrases for which you are searching in quotation marks. For example, a keyword search for HVT “child survivors” will look for the words child and survivors as a phrase anywhere in the record.

Advanced Search

Click the Advanced tab on the Orbis search screen. An advanced search provides more limited results, and the use of Boolean operators “AND,” “OR,” or “NOT“. In the first dialog box, enter HVT and then select Keyword Anywhere in the dropdown box to the right. Make sure the operator in the dropdown box between the first two search terms is set to AND. In the next search box enter Treblinka, then in the drop down box on the right click on Subject. This limits the search to the testimonies of those who were in Treblinka, rather than all of those who mention the term, some of whom might not have been there. You can then add an additional search term by choosing another Boolean operator, AND, OR or NOT, from the dropbox between the terms and then defining whether it is a Keyword or Subject. This method provides more powerful searches that exclude certain terms or subjects.

Applying Language Limits

The testimonies in the Fortunoff Video Archive were recorded in 22 languages. If the testimony was recorded in English, there is no language note in the bibliographic record. For testimonies in languages other than English, a note field specifies the language in which the testimony was recorded. The last dialog box is labeled Language in the Advanced search screen. To limit a search to a specific language, click the pull down menu and choose from the list of languages.