The search engine permits users to search the entire list of collections. Searches can be done, for example, by place names (e.g., Auschwitz, Vienna, Palestine), company and organization names (e.g., Krupp, SS), certain Nazi terminology (e.g., Umsiedlung, Lebensborn), generic terms (e.g., prison, hospital), and any other terms that appear in the inventory text. One may search the inventory using either German or English language terms. The search engine is not case sensitive.
For example, if one enters the camp name “Dachau” (without the quotes) in the simple search tool, the search engine will retrieve all collections in which the word Dachau appears in any of the information fields. The search results can be narrowed by including additional terms in the search box without removing “Dachau.” Thus, entering “Dachau” and “prisoner” in the search box will deliver a list of all collections in which both the word Dachau and the word prisoner appear in any of the entered fields. It is not necessary to use “and” or “+” to achieve this result. The search engine automatically looks for collections that include all of the words entered in the search box.
The search engine will return a list of collections that meet the criteria of the search. The list will consist of a German-language description of the collection, followed by an English-language translation of the German description. The results in every search first list relevant collections from the Sachdokumente (a small section of miscellaneous historical collections), followed by collections listed in the chronological order in which they were registered at ITS. On occasion, this will mean that a collection deposited at an earlier date, but not registered until a later date, will appear on the list later than some collections that arrived and were registered immediately. In general, however, such cases are unusual.
Translation of Terms
Certain broadly accepted and widely used terms have intentionally been left in the original German in the English language translations of collection descriptions. Examples include:
- KL, KZ
- Dates have been left in European format (e.g., 5.12.1945 is December 5, 1945).
The online inventory contains up to 10 information fields on each collection. Information is present in most fields for most collections, but is absent if it was not entered at the time the collection was originally registered at ITS. The information fields are as follows:
- Sheet Name (periods of time in which collections were registered);
- Inventory Number (an arbitrarily assigned number for inventory processing purposes and not a useful search field);
- A brief Description of the collection;
- The Source of the collection (what organization or individual deposited the materials, or what is the source archive of copies of documentation held elsewhere);
- Accession Date (the date the collection was registered at ITS);
- Number of Pages in the collection (sometimes shown file by file within a particular collection);
- Number of Victim Names that appear in the collection;
- ITS File Location (the physical location where the collection is filed at the ITS archive in Bad Arolsen);
- Document Type (whether the documents in the collection are originals or copies);
- Carded (a notation—either ja/yes or nein/no—made on occasion, but not consistently, to indicate that the names in the collection had been entered into the Central Name Index).
Collections registered after June 2000, which were received in digital form, have essentially the same information fields, but lack the accession date.
“Document type” indicates whether the documents are “originals” or “copies.” Some subcategories of documents registered as copies are “Abschriften” (duplicates), “Fotokopien” (photocopies), “Rückvergrößerungen” (microfilm prints), and “Filme” (microfilm). It is important to bear in mind that some “copies” that exist at ITS are in fact “original copies,” that is, the only known examples of the documents in question.
As the digitization process of the ITS archive proceeds, collections and the files within collections will all receive unique digital archive identification numbers, which may be added in later versions of the inventory.