January 17, 2019

Researchers at UConn Developing Immersive Learning Experience Using VR and Game Design to Bring to Life Archival Materials From Nuremberg Trials

From the University of Connecticut:

UConn researchers are developing an immersive learning experience using virtual reality (VR) and game design to bring to life archival materials from the Nuremberg Trials.

With the help of a $25,000 Digital Projects for the Public award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), researchers from UConn’s Digital Media and Design Department in the School of Fine Arts, UConn Library’s Archives & Special Collections (ASC), and Neag School of Education are working with colleagues across the globe to make this project a reality.

The team hopes that their Courtroom 600 project – named for the courtroom in the Justizpalast in Nuremberg, Germany, where the trials took place – will draw learners into ongoing thought and empathetic discussion about human rights both past and present.

The team hopes that their Courtroom 600 project – named for the courtroom in the Justizpalast in Nuremberg, Germany, where the trials took place – will draw learners into ongoing thought and empathetic discussion about human rights both past and present.

“The Courtroom 600 project team is grateful for the opportunity NEH funding will provide to advance this work,” says principal investigator Ken Thompson, assistant professor-in-residence of game design. “Evidence shows there is a significant decline in Holocaust awareness, with one study citing that 1 out of 5 millennials haven’t heard of or are not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust. As publically engaged scholars, we believe it is critical to create engaging and well-informed educational experiences to begin to address this disconnect, and the Courtroom 600 project aims to do just that.”

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The archival materials used for the virtual experience are pulled in real time from executive trial counsel Thomas J. Dodd’s papers housed at UConn Library’s Archives and Special Collections in Storrs. Through one of the first collaborative projects of its kind in the nation, UConn and partner organizations digitized 50,000 depositions, photographs, pieces of evidence, correspondence, drafts of legal briefs, and other documents from the Nuremberg Trials for use by scholars and now the public.

“The potential impacts of Courtroom 600 extend beyond its subject matter and beyond its proposed approaches to engaging self-directed learners in Holocaust history,” says Greg Colati, co-investigator on the project and assistant university librarian for University Archives, Special Collections, and Digital Curation. “It also demonstrates the value of interoperable data standards so we can increase the versatility and discoverability of digital collections and allow people to personally interact with media and history.”

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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