Monday, October 29, 2007

Nonesense about the ITS

You know how whenever your really know about something that's being reported in the media, you notice how sloppy and inaccurate the reports are, and you wonder if it's just as sloppy when telling about things you know less about? So the front page of Haaretz this morning has a big article about the International Tracing Service (ITS), which is in the process of opening to the public. Much of the article is misleading, verging on nonsense: The ITS is in no way the world's largest archive about Nazism - that title probably belongs to the German Federal Archives, though you'd be surprised to know how substantially important the American National Archive (NARA) is, and there are all sort of other such bloopers in the article.

The Hebrew version of the article is longer than the English one, and contains the assertion that while much of the ITS documentation has been accessible in copy at Yad Vashem since the 1950s (a fact which slightly contradicts the drama of the story), at the ITS itself the systems are far more efficient. Given that teams of professionals from five countries have been laboring for the past 18 months on an attempt to crack the system of the ITS archives, so far not successfully, this assertion is, how to put it, curios.

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