Judith Haran

Judith Haran has been analyzing documents for the Nuremberg Project at Harvard Law School since 2017. Archival work is her second career (formerly she worked in psychiatry). In her spare time, she writes fiction with themes related to the Second World War. She is particularly interested in the use of social media to reach out to non-traditional audiences for archival collections. 

 

'Nuremberg Project at Harvard Law School'

Abstract of presentation for Holocaust Studies in the Digital Age. What’s New? on 2 July 2019

This talk is an introduction to the current and future work of the Nuremberg Project at Harvard Law School. The project's goal is to make the entire English-language record of the thirteen Nuremberg trials available free online (it's approximately 20% done). A brief history of the Project is followed by a discussion of digital workflows, new developments, social media, and plans for the future.

  • History, timeline, milestones since inception in 1998
  • Gradual move from analysis using paper record to analysis based on digital images; pending move from static offline database to web-based platform for data entry. How the database works; what data needs to be entered to support the search function on the website. Use of controlled vocabularies for names, entities and trial issues.
  • Benefits of web-based platform for metadata creation:
    • enables data sharing among geographically dispersed analysts
    • controlled vocabularies can be updated/corrected in real time
    • as work progresses, internal controlled vocabularies will be adjusted and linked out to those of other institutions, enabling more efficient online searches and reducing confusion. (c.f. variety of names attached to entities in Eastern Europe, such as Lemberg/Lwow/Lvov/Lviv)
    • enables current workflow to scale up to match funding
  • Social media: April marked the opening of our twitter account, which now has >1000 followers from across the globe, including students, teachers, historians, legal scholars, and many who might never have found our website otherwise; linking out to similar accounts for wider reach
  • A new partner, a company specializing in machine learning, is creating methods for tasks such as finding all references to evidence documents in the trial transcripts. (This task is now being done manually at great expense.) Also coming up as funding permits:
    • using machines to identify topics in the transcripts and evidence files (some documents related to a given topic don't use expected keywords)
    • using machine-readable text to make all of our documents searchable by keyword (not just trial documents but the much larger collection from which these were drawn)

Judith Haran
Harvard Law School
jharan@law.harvard.edu