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USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Visual History Archive: Getting Started

For all users

The Visual History Archive is available for research to the Penn community and to users not affiliated with Penn. (See this page, right column, for access specifics regarding non-affiliated users).
Testimonies are accessible by anyone on Penn's campus and to Pennkey holders from off campus.
If you are in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, you may bring your own headphones or borrow a set from us.

Visitors to Penn

Visitors to the campus of the University of Pennsylvania are welcome to access and view testimonies that are a part of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive. Van Pelt-Dietrich Library is open to visitors weekdays 8:30am-6pm or by special appointment. A current, valid government or school-issued photo I.D. that contains an expiration date is required for entry. Please consult for policy details. 
A Penn credential is required for computer access. A guest credential that will provide single-day access to a public computer and the Visual History Archive can be issued at the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center Circulation Desk. The desk is located just inside the building entrance.
Due to the limited availability of computing resources the following policies govern availability:
  • Any one individual will be provided with a credential up to a maximum of 10 days per calendar month.
  • The maximum number of credentials available daily is 10. The library reserves the right to decrease this number at its discretion.
  • The service will not be offered during reading or exam periods when all library computing resources must be available for current students.
After gaining access to a Penn Library computer, testimony access is available here after registering: 
While the Visual History Archive can be accessed on any library computer, the Music Library’s Ormandy Music and Media Center (4th floor west) provides a quiet and relatively private area for individuals or small groups to view testimonies. Visitors may bring their own headphones or use those provided by the Center.
For additional information on building or computer access please contact the Van Pelt Library Reference Desk at 215-898-7555 or send us your question.
For information on the Visual History Archive or for assistance with searching and accessing testimonies, please contact
Before you visit:  The Testimony Catalog enables off-campus searching - but not viewing - of testimonies. Use it to identify testimonies that you would like to view when you visit. Then email us with the InterviewCodes of the testimonies and the date of your visit so that we can have the videos ready for you. (Note that the "Search" link for the Testimony Catalog is located on the page at top right.)
Technical questions:  See the Technical FAQ.
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