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European Holocaust Research Infrastructure

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EHRI-3 (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2022-02-28

The mission of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) is to support trans-national Holocaust research, commemoration and education. The main challenge is the wide dispersal of sources and expertise across many institutions. By connecting sources, institutions and people, EHRI works on overcoming this fragmentation. During EHRI-1 (2010-2015), connections with various institutions and researchers across Europe were established. EHRI-2 (2015-2019) expanded on that by focusing on Eastern and Southern Europe. The EHRI-3 project delves even deeper and focuses on the further integration of Holocaust archives and research. This is accomplished by an expansion of sources in the EHRI Portal, with an extra focus on the integration of micro-archives; the provision of training and education opportunities for both researchers and archivists; the continuation of the EHRI Conny Kristel Fellowship Program; and the development of digital tools that will facilitate connecting dispersed sources.

The main audience of the EHRI-3 project are scholarly communities. Nevertheless, the project is of importance to all layers of society, as the Holocaust played a substantial role in the development of European societies. EHRI-3 will provide further insight into how a humanities research infrastructure can inform societal discourse in areas such as antisemitism, xenophobia, non-discrimination and religious and cultural tolerance.

EHRI-3’s overall aim is to ensure the inclusion of as many hidden archives as possible. Additionally, EHRI-3 will develop protocols and tools that will facilitate the accessibility of these hidden sources for Holocaust research. The project will also enhance its access provision by integrating new communities into its network. The development of innovative layers across dispersed sources that connect thematically will contribute to a new trans-national approach to Holocaust studies.
The Privacy Advisory Committee (PAC) and the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)
To assist with privacy-related matters, the Privacy Advisory Committee (PAC) was established.
The PAC consists of three people, with a combined expertise in archiving, data protection and privacy. The PAC will provide independent advice, ensuring that EHRI continues to handle data according to the most recent privacy regulations.

The SAB that was established during the EHRI-PP project also provides independent scientific and strategic advice to the EHRI-3 project. This board, consisting of representatives from various fields (Holocaust research, archival sciences, digital humanities and humanities research infrastructures), ensures quality by providing feedback on key outputs. Next to providing valuable input, the board also ensures synergy between the EHRI-PP and the EHRI-3 project.

Dissemination and Communication
A general roadmap for EHRI-3’s dissemination and communication activities has been created. The dissemination strategy has been initiated with success, for instance by distributing newsletters and posting information on social media and the EHRI website. The roadmap will be updated throughout the project, factoring in the evaluation of activities and the success of dissemination and communication. A document repository has also been established. It will store the final versions of project outcomes (also from the earlier EHRI-1 and EHRI-2 projects), to make them fully accessible to EHRI partners. EHRI-3 is also working on a podcast that will widen its audience. At the end of this reporting period, plans for a pilot episode (to be recorded on 3 March 2022) were in place.

Supporting Research and Communities
The first phase of establishing a (Mobile) Experts Lab has been completed, i.e. determining the needs and priorities of potential users, assembling a portfolio of services (including modes and methods of delivery), and developing a marketing strategy. The (Mobile) Experts Lab will facilitate the development of local networks in places where practitioners often work in isolation and have insufficient access to expertise and resources.

Virtual & Trans-National Access
In February 2022, an International Advisory Panel assessed the EHRI Virtual Observatory, the overarching name for a variety of dedicated tools and services for virtual access (e.g. the EHRI Project website, the EHRI Portal and the EHRI Online Course in Holocaust Studies). Access to the EHRI Virtual Observatory has been provided continuously, with continuously increasing access figures. The advisory panel highlighted the importance of connecting various EHRI resources. Throughout the project, feedback will be requested for continual improvement.

Two calls for applications to the EHRI Conny Kristel Fellowship were published during the first reporting period. Applications for the second call are currently being processed. From the total of 62 applicants to the first call, 27 were selected. These 27 fellows will partake in a combined 121 weeks of access provided by 12 partner institutions.

Data Identification and Integration
EHRI-3 will organize six regional data integration hubs to address the individual and local requirements of cooperating institutions. During this reporting period, their goals, scope, configuration and working procedures have been outlined.

The EHRI (Mobile) Data Integration Lab has been created to assist institutions with the integration of their metadata into the EHRI Portal.

EHRI Document Blog
The EHRI Document Blog continues its development. During this reporting period, one of its focal points has been supporting geospatial methods around EHRI’s growing portfolio of data and services relating to Holocaust geographies. Thirteen articles from different areas of research and documentation on the Holocaust have been published during this reporting period. Publishing articles on a frequent basis also led to high access statistics: over 1,200 individual users per month.

Micro-archival communities
After creating a definition of micro-archives, and reaching out to various micro-archives, a list has been created with new micro-archives that could potentially be incorporated in the EHRI system. This list includes twenty micro-archives that have shown an interest in cooperating with EHRI and thereby being linked to other archives and collections. As various micro-archives have various needs, an outline has been created with suggestions of prospective services for micro-archival communities.
Despite pandemic-related delays to certain deliverables, the EHRI-3 project is on track to expand the EHRI community and to integrate heretofore hidden archives. The continual provision of access to Holocaust sources, and the creation and maintenance of relationships between researchers/archivists, will facilitate the fight against antisemitism, xenophobia, discrimination and religious and cultural intolerance. The on-going EHRI-PP project (2019-2023) will conclude with the establishment of a fully operational permanent research infrastructure by 27 January 2025, the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. This permanent organization will ensure that the work conducted in EHRI-3 can continue well past the project’s completion date. Due to the activities initiated during the EHRI-3 project, EHRI will continue to play a crucial role in the future of Holocaust education and memorialization.
Project Director at Conference
GPM Kick-Off on Zoom
Kick-Off Project Plans on Zoom
Registration Kick-Off Meeting
Introduction Crowdsourcing Tools and Projects Workshop
Mindmap Archival Interface
General Project Objectives PPT Presentation