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Catalog & Research Guide :: Orbis Search Tips

Initially, you may wish to use "keyword searches" to locate the Archive's materials in Orbis. A keyword search will retrieve any catalog record which contains the specified search terms. This form of searching is particularly powerful because you can combine several keywords in a single search. The search results include a summary of the testimony.  The following example retrieves materials which refer to Paris and the Drancy transit camp:

keywords: Paris and Drancy

This search retrieves all Yale Library materials which meet the specified criteria. To limit your keyword search to the Archive's testimonies, add the qualifier "HVT" (for Holocaust Video Testimony) to your searches, as in:

keywords: Athens and children and HVT

More complicated searches are also possible. The following example retrieves testimonies which refer to Auschwitz, and then either to Frankfurt or Munich:

keywords: Auschwitz and (Munich or Frankfurt) and HVT

One technique for broadening a search is to "truncate" keywords using the "?" symbol. The truncated keyword "Medic?" will return records containing the words "medic", "medical", or "medicine." Similarly, the following example returns records including the terms "poet," "poetry," "poets," "poem," or "poems." ("Poe?" is too short to serve as a valid truncated keyword).

keywords: (poem? or poet?) and HVT

You do not need to include diacritics in your search terms:

keywords: "Lodz ghetto" and "Jewish councils" and HVT

Keyword searches will sometimes return "false hits"; that is, catalog records which include all the keywords requested but which are not actually relevant. The above search returns several testimonies which describe the role of the Judenrat in the Lodz ghetto; it also locates a testimony which describes the Jewish council of the Zdunska Wola ghetto, as well as transfer to the Lodz ghetto. Such "false hits" can be eliminated by carefully reading the testimony summaries included in each catalog record.

The Advanced Search mode can provide more specific results and fewer “false hits.”  By entering a geographic heading or a concentration camp as a “subject” rather than a keyword, the results will only include those testimonies of people who were actually in the named place.  A keyword search will often yield a larger number of results because it will include those who talk about the place as well. 

At the bottom of the screen in the Advanced Search mode, there is the option to limit the search results a specific language.  

Please see the Tutorials section of this guide for more detailed instructions on searching Orbis for Video Archive testimonies.

Additional information about Orbis (and the different interfaces) is available from the Guide to Orbis (part of the Yale University Library Research Workstation), and in the Orbis help files.