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IWITNESS Wins National Honor

Survivor testimony web resource among American Association of School Librarians’ “Top 25 Web sites for Teaching and Learning”

A high school student watches Holocaust survivor Roman Kent's testimony about his experience in Poland during World War II on IWitness. The educational resource provides educators and students with more than 1,000 video testimonies of eyewitnesses of the Holocaust to be used in classroom lessons. Photo by Melissa Jacobs.
A high school student watches Holocaust survivor Roman Kent's testimony about his experience in Poland during World War II on IWitness. The educational resource provides educators and students with more than 1,000 video testimonies of eyewitnesses of the Holocaust to be used in classroom lessons. Photo by Melissa Jacobs.

IWitness, an Internet resource developed by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, has been recognized by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) as one of the 2012 Top Web sites for Teaching and Learning. IWitness enables teachers and students to interact with the video testimonies of more than 1,000 survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. 

The AASL made the announcement at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, on June 23. Since 2009, the AASL has honored “the top 25 Internet sites for enhancing learning and curriculum development” for school librarians and teachers and considers its list “the best of the best.”

“The institute is thrilled to see IWitness receive such a prestigious honor, and we are grateful to the American Association of School Librarians for raising awareness of its unique value to educators, librarians and curriculum developers,” said USC Shoah Foundation Institute Director of Programs Kori Street.

IWitness is a transformative resource for students 13 and older. The transformation occurs when learners make an individual connection with any single voice among the more than 1,000 testimonies. Using the embedded tools, students do more than just watch and listen; they research, explore, reflect and respond with their own voices about why voices from the past matter today and tomorrow. IWitness activities not only meet a variety of curricular objectives and integrate 21st-century literacies; they also help inspire a future without prejudice and intolerance.

Established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world: nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries.

The institute is part of the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California; its mission is to overcome prejudice, intolerance and bigotry —and the suffering they cause—through the educational use of the institute’s visual history testimonies.

The institute works within the university and with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes. In addition to preserving the testimonies in its archive, the institute is working with partner organizations to expand the archive with accounts of survivors and witnesses of other genocides.