PHASE 1 | 2018

Welcome to the new digital collections website of the Blavatnik Archive. Over 4,000 digitized items are freely accessible online for the first time, including testimonies, postcards, photographs, letters, diaries and more. Additionally, more than 120 curated profiles of Jewish veterans of the Soviet Army during WWII are available on the site. With an overall collection of nearly 113,000 physical assets, the Blavatnik Archive is committed to adding newly processed items on an ongoing basis.

Focusing initially on providing the best user experience to easily find and engage with individual items in the collections, key Phase 1 features include:

Item-based metadata

Data capture and cataloging is conducted at the item level to allow for dynamic, multi-select search capabilities. Some item types, like videos and diaries, are also cataloged at a sub-item level (we call them segments) to provide even greater search precision.

Multi-faceted search

With consistent, item-based metadata, we are able to offer an incredibly refined search experience. Powered by Elasticsearch technology, users can search by typed keyword (within titles, descriptions, and transcripts) or multi-select across a number of filter lists (like subjects, place and date) to easily narrow down and sort their search results.

Advanced imaging technology - IIIF

The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) is a set of open-source protocols that establishes a universal standard for the seamless online delivery and manipulation of high-resolution images. Developed by a consortium of leading global institutions (Standford, Yale, Harvard, Cornell, Oxford’s Bodleian Library, British Library, the Getty), IIIF was created to provide scholars with an unprecedented level of rich access to image-based resources and to support interoperability between independent digital repositories. On our site, the primary features of IIIF implementation are extremely fast image loading, deem-image zooming, and powerful image-comparison functions (both within and external to our collections). Future IIIF-enabled features will include image annotations, image overlays, and multi- institutional digital exhibits.

Item-oriented user interface

The user experience has been designed around intuitive, direct access to individual items and the many fields of item data and metadata that accompany them. A clean, open interface and tab structure provides visual organization and uncluttered access to large amounts of information. Users are able to find and examine individual items quickly and efficiently and with relatively little learning curve.

Responsive web design

Following contemporary development standards, responsive design provides the website with the flexibility to adapt to any screen size, including mobile. It ensures that the user experience is always optimized regardless of how they access the site - images stay large and content spread out on a larger screen, and becomes increasingly scaled down and organized on smaller ones.

Item-based digital tools

A suite of tools is available under the ‘Use Item’ tab for each item: item records and transcripts can be downloaded as PDFs; item images can be downloaded as low-res jpgs; and any item can be posted to social media. Additionally, the IIIF icon can be opened in an external viewer for image comparison between institutions.

Digital archives standards

We implemented metadata standards that combine the standards produced by traditional historical and archival institutions, with more contemporary digital archiving practices, as well as an understanding of the digital habits and sensibilities of our online audience base. Also following current standards of interoperability, our content management system is optimized for flexible data exchange with other institutions.

Phase 1 development of the website targeted primarily an audience of scholars and researchers, providing numerous entry points to the collections without extensive contextualization or interpretation. Phase 2 will focus on a broader public audience, creating digital products that highlight human stories and provide curated layers of historical and cultural context. Phase 2 will also integrate information about the Blavatnik Archive and its programs into the site.

Learn more about the Blavatnik Archive at


For image and research requests, or to inquire about a loan or donation, please contact:

Olga Golovanova

Archive and Exhibit Coordinator
212 275 4600

Blavatnik Archive Foundation
1633 Broadway, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10019


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