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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.

Wildcards and Narrowing Searches in Orbis


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

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. To limit the search to Fortunoff materials, enter HVT in the first dialog box 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 to make sure that HVT will be included in the results.

Advanced Search by Subject


When creating catalog records, the archive will enter important people, places, and topics as subjects. This is useful if you want to be sure that the survivors themselves had the experience you are researching. For example, after putting HVT in the first field and setting the Boolean operator to AND, enter Dachau in the second field and select Subject in the dropdown next to the field. This limits the search to the testimonies of those who were in Dachau, rather than all of those who mention the term, some of whom might not have been there.

Advanced Search by Survivor or Interviewer


To search for a survivor or for an interviewer by name or birth year, search by author. Generally speaking, survivors have their names formatted as full first name, first initial of last name, and if known, their birth year. If you are searching for survivors, you must use that truncated form of their name rather than their full name as the catalog records will not have their last names associated with it at all, in order to protect the privacy of the survivor. If you need to search by full name, contact the archive directly so we can search our own records. Interviewers will have their full name listed.

Applying Language Limits


The testimonies in the Fortunoff Video Archive were recorded in over 20 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.

Combining Multiple Search Criteria


Advanced search provides three search fields and allows you to combine multiple search criteria, such as subject, author, and language. An example of this combined search is for testimonies
of survivors who were born in 1923, not in Dachau, given in German. Put HVT in the first field and leave it set to keyword. This will limit searches to Fortunoff Archive materials only. Select AND from the Boolean dropdown. Enter the desired birth year of 1923 in the second field and limit the search field to Author. Select NOT from the Boolean dropdown, enter Dachau in the final search field, and limit the search field to Subject. Finally, select German from the language dropdown.

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