An electronic encyclopedia of the Holocaust : a knowledge structuring for Jewish education / Chaim Zins.
This study is a structuring of the historical knowledge about the Holocaust, as a basis for developing an electronic encyclopedia for use in American and Jewish education. It is focused on historiographical, educational and media-related considerations involved in the structuring. The historiographical considerations emerge from the historical material and its diverse interpretations. The educational considerations are derived from the intentional use of electronic encyclopedias as tools for retrieval of structured knowledge. The media-related considerations are connected to methods of data processing. An electronic encyclopedia is needed in the light of limitations of textbooks and oral presentations for comprehensively presenting the meaningful relationships between the components of the historical knowledge. These are links that historians and educators find important to stress: viz. links between events and places, places and persons, persons and organizations and the like. The study has two parts. The first is knowledge structuring. It is based on an analysis of more than 2000 terms that have been found suitable to be included in a prospective encyclopedia. The resulting model has seven sections and 145 categories. The second part analyzes the adaptations needed to adjust the structure for use in various curricula. Two factors--target users and educational goals--emerge. The study focuses on the educational goals and demonstrates how they affect the structuring. This analysis is divided into five sections according to five major justifications for teaching the Holocaust. Each section demonstrates the adjustments needed to facilitate information retrieval supporting the justification as reflected in educational goals appearing in nine curricula used in the United States. In addition to its contribution to the field of teaching the Holocaust, this study has a generic value for general education as well. It demonstrates the possibility of knowledge structuring in a way that takes advantage of the computer's unique ability to process data. It emphasizes the importance of educational perspectives in the development of electronic encyclopedias and exemplifies methodological reasoning that could be followed in other fields.
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