Collaborative histories and community contributed collections: reappraising World War I

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  • http://vimeo.com/30211782
  • Building digital collections & using them to inform new directions of learning within and outside the ‘academy’New ways of academic writingBlogging - MicrobloggingCookingOpen publishing
  • Since the late 1980s – there has also been a remarkable boom in scholarship about the war which has introduced new methods. The increasing expectation that work will cross disciplinary and national boundaries has produced new understandings.In 103 airship and aeroplane raids on Great Britain between 1915 and 1918, the Germans dropped 280 tons of bombs, killing 1413 and injuring 3408.China declared War on Germany in March 1917.Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba140,000 men traveled to Europe to work for Fr and GB in the War as laborers,By the end of the War America had sworn in 11,274 female Yeomen to the Navy on the same status as menDaniel-Henry Kahnweiler, - saw the end of futurism and the realist movement and an explosion in the modernist.Resist as well as embrace a deeper encounter with it.The war was futile, both in the way it was fought and in its outcome. It was uniquely horrible: a British tragedy (any other European nation tends to get left out). A generation was lost. Their experience is best evidenced by the work of the war poets. The war changed everything.
  • To create innovative Open Educational Resources around WW1 relevant across disciplines for embedding in teaching and learning using a range of content pertaining to WW1 (both UK and international). This single project will support the following activities:The creation of a suite of learning and teaching resources that provide an international, cross-disciplinary reappraisal of WW1 using digital content which will subsequently be brought together and presented as OERsb. The embedding of the OERs in teaching and learning practicec. The capturing and sharing of "lessons learned" in the developing and embedding the OERs
  • This is the First World War Poetry Digital Archive website. We’ve c. 7,000 digital images of primary source material (manuscripts, letters, photos, service records) relating to the poetsA virtual Museum to house the digitised manuscripts of dispersed collections of WW1 poetry and related contextual material from some of the major writers of the war. Primary source material dispersed amongst libraries and archives in the UK, USA and Canada. Digitisation performed by holding institutions according to project benchmarks.No physical manifestation of this archive to compliment the online collectionBuilt up over a series of digitisation projects since 1996. Most recently funding received for Apr 07 - Mar 09 and Oct 08 - Sept 09 to expand and enhance the archive (JISC Digitisation Programme).You can see the search box where you can start exploring. And links to the Education Materials and to browse the collections of poetry.
  • Alongside our work on the poetry archive we ran The Great War Archive from March to June 2008.This was a ‘Community Collection’ to harvest digital versions of items originating from the First World War held by the general publicIt was quite innovative – involving the public in all aspects of digitisation and cataloguingIdea of a community collection- Bridge the gap between non-institutional pro-amateurs and institutional collections and their online presence.Creation of digital resources by armateurs Digitisation of family history and genealogy is very popular – harnessing this power of amateur digitisation- Democratising in nature – accept everything, not selective
  • There was a very simple online submissions process Public enters basic metadataThe trick was to get the most useful information from the contributor but at the same time not making it a laborious task that would dissuade themOffered a large open ‘notes’ field for further information, anecdotes, etc.Europeana were first inspired to fund this when they saw our work in Oxford to run a short-term pilot collection like this in the UK. In 2008 we ran The Great War Archive. This was a community collection. We had enough funding to run this for 4 months only, as a test pilot. We managed to get the public to contribute stories and images of anything they had from the First World War. This was an early form of what is now called Crowdsourcing. For Germany we followed the methods of The Great War Archive. We set up a very simple online contribution form. This is an English screenshot, and the form and the whole process is available in German as well. The member of the public enters some basic metadata. The trick here is to get the most useful information from the contributor but at the same time not make it a laborious task that might put them off. There is a large open notes field for information and anecdotes. The contributor also agrees to the terms and conditions – these are equivalent to CC0 (Creative Commons Zero). Finally the contributor uploads their files – photos etc.The form – and the whole database is based on an open source Ruby On Rails system which we have developed, and the website has a simple HTML shell – all displayed with a CSS from Europeana.Not everyone is familiar with the Internet, so we ran roadshows. These roadshows were public participation days. They were coordinated by the DNB. We worked with an organisation like a state library or archive. We based ourselves there for a day and used the newspapers and the radio to invite the public to join us.These public participation days really were a bit like the BBC TV programme The Antiques Roadshow, if you have seen it? People really did queue up with their plastic bags full of photos, letters and uniforms. We would talk to them about what they have brought. Get them to fill in a form and then photograph or scan the items.So we have collected the ephemera which the museums and the rest of the world has chosen to leave undocumented. Yes, we had lots of medals and portrait photos but we also got hundreds of unpublished diaries and memoirs and photos.To moderate the contributions we have an admin system which allows our editors to: check items for their validity; correct or add to the metadata; flag items of particular interest/value.We also have a Take Down policy, and an email address where users can contact us.CLICK
  • Talking of being part of your community. Making resources available may also lead to reuse in unexpected areas. The Great War Archive, for example, has been used by academic researchers and teachers, but it is a means for family historians not only to find information about their family members but also to make contact with lost relatives and establish connections between different branches of families – this is an example of challenging your assumptions!This is a photo sent to us of a family reunion at the service of remembrance to commemorate the 90th anniversary of a village war memorial, December 2010. When the family sent us the photo they wrote that ‘None of us would have known about the service without The Great War Archive’. The organisers of the parish service had found with someone relating to every family named on the memorial – except one man. They actually made contact with the family (all descendants of a Private Cole) from material originally contributed online to The Great War Archive by someone living in France. Some of this material was used in an exhibition and in the order of service, and a poem written by the father of the Private, which was contributed to the Archive, was read out by the local MP. And as I say this group of descendants would not have got together without the contribution made to our collection.
  • High level of quality: An admin system allows reviewers to: check items for their validity; correct or add to the metadata; flag items of particular interest/valueFor example, this is from the collection in the UK from 2008. Last month – that’s 3 years after we ran The Great War Archive – last month I received an email saying this bus ticket is not from the First World War – it must be from World War 2!The bus ticket is not date stamped and the contribution came to us without any date information.CLICKHere’s the email. So Wow! I don’t know anything about London bus companies but this guy obviously thinks he does. So – my immediate response was to send a thank you message and explain we’ll investigate. CLICKSo I looked into who contributed the ticket in the first place – it’s the Bodleian Library! One of the oldest University libraries in the world!CLICK Isn’t this an interesting problem? A knowledgeable amateur correcting a professional and learned institution!CLICKSo as I was saying Europeana funded the German National Library to run this collection from the public. Our team at Oxford helped with training and the National Library recruited local partners. The local partners ran public participation days. There were 8 all around the country and these were the main focus for the National Library.CLICKWe have a video on YouTube about our first public day in Frankfurt, and if I have time at the end of the presentation I will show you some of it so you can see what the work is like.CLICK
  • And with Flickr you can see what happens when you let the community do what it wants – in terms of user-tags, descriptions etc. What you also see is the amazing lengths some people will go to share their knowledge and help someone else.CLICKYes, you get the silly comments – as you do with any blog, or YouTube video. But you also get responses like this – where someone has added so much information to the hazy details known by the person who first posted the photo.What you also see is the amazing lengths some people will go to share their knowledge and help someone else.
  • Community open to open publishing and open licenses.Appeal of feedback.Opportunity for public engagement.Potential to enhance reputations.
  • When login to my email or the blog met with a picture like this…draft.Provide useage stats.Open publishing > to more citations (Melissa Terras), greater awarenessGeneral sense that it’s a good thing to do for the subject – get out of the trenches! Stop using this solomn tone more more into questioning and reappraisal.2nd problem came when ‘cooking up’ – mixing in images and media to highlight themes. The big providers to not release under an open licence.Nature or the Degree of open literacy.After a while contributors took it onto themselves to contact archives ad collection ownersWhen log in to my account I’m met with a load of permission forms.Not just blogging….revisualisations.Problem – living resources. But do we need an editor?
  • Why Arras?- Yet despite the fact that the fighting at Arras reflects almost every aspect of the experience of the BEF in WW1 it remains under-studied, if not neglected. And it is not just among historians; visitors to the Western Front gravitate towards Ypres and the Somme.A greater daily death toll than any other fought by the Allies in the First World War.Join twitter (digital literacy)
  • Great War Forum discussion (2000 views – 54 responses)
  • Join twitter (digital literacy)
  • When login to my email or the blog met with a picture like this…draft.Provide useage stats.Open publishing > to more citations (Melissa Terras), greater awarenessGeneral sense that it’s a good thing to do for the subject – get out of the trenches! Stop using this solomn tone more more into questioning and reappraisal.2nd problem came when ‘cooking up’ – mixing in images and media to highlight themes. The big providers to not release under an open licence.Nature or the Degree of open literacy.After a while contributors took it onto themselves to contact archives ad collection ownersWhen log in to my account I’m met with a load of permission forms.Not just blogging….revisualisations.Problem – living resources. But do we need an editor?
  • New forms of writing are a key route to more extensive engagement on WW1. Using digital technology tools and open licencses they hold the potential to democratise the study of the past, both by making expert knowledge (not always from within the academy) available and by making primary evidence that challenges the myths of War more widely accessible. combine popular interest in the war with specialist expertise, and which recognise that an archive is different from a tribute or a memorial, suggest that it is possible to create high-quality content based on a range of materials.But will these new writings move us beyond the trenches? Succeed in challenging mythsNew writings exploit popular enthusiasm to encourage thought, rather than to enforce the “correct” opinion. Such strategies, however, depend on being able to talk critically and honestly about the soldiers of the great war. It is only when the conflict has receded by at least one more generation that that will become possible.  
  • Collaborative histories and community contributed collections: reappraising World War I

    1. 1. Collaborative histories andcommunity contributed collections: reappraising World War I Kate Lindsay, Manager for Engagement and Discovery Learning Technologies Group, University of Oxford @ktdigital | @ww1c | @ww1lit
    2. 2. 1. The Memory of World War I2. Engaging communities to transform learning3. Exploring knowledge in new and open ways4. New directions in learning and blurring of ‘Academic’
    3. 3. Images Copyright: Imperial War Museum, licensed to the First World War Poetry Digital Archive under the JISC ModelLicence.
    4. 4. Images: National Library of Scotland (CC BY-NC-SA), Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain), Wellcome Images (CC BY-NC-SA), Library of Congress (Public Domain).
    5. 5. The commemoration provides the opportunity formuseums, galleries, archives, libraries, the creativeindustries, universities, colleges and schools to worktogether to provide a user experience madepossible through innovative digital technologies thatis as personal, rich and vivid as it is focused; anexperience that offers the user the ability tocontextualise their own understanding andcustomise resources in line with their own learningand research priorities. – Statement of Intent.JISC WW1 Commemoration Programme.
    6. 6. The Great War ArchiveThe Great War Archive In 2008 the UniversityIn 2008 the University of of Oxford used theOxford used the general general public to buildpublic to build on a freely- on a freely-available,available, online archive of online archive of thethe manuscripts of manuscripts of many of the British many of the British poets from the poets from the First World War First World WarThey contributed to a They contributed to acommunity collection community collection
    7. 7. Simple online submissions process Contributors asked to agree to basic terms & conditions of the license Contributors enter basic metadata Offered a large open ‘notes’ field for further information or anecdotesAn admin system allowed reviewers to: check items fortheir validity; correct or add to the metadata; flag items ofparticular interest/value
    8. 8. Flickr: No formalsubmission/metadataA future project mightenhance metadata?Comments can be facileor funny andcan sometimes be incredibly informative
    9. 9. Resource Library • Links to existing high quality OER on the World Wide Web • Images, Video, Audio, E-Books, Web Sites, Blogs etc. • Global OER Widgets • Surface ‘Popular’ resources • Links to the ‘big’ WW1 OER collectionsImage: Library of Congress, WW1 Poster Archive. Public Domain.
    10. 10. Scholarly Blog• Experts from across a range of disciplines.• New ideas, unrefined thoughts, reviews, republish previous work.• Surface existing open materials.• No style guide and requires no specific referencing format. Image: Library of Congress, WW1 Poster Archive. Public Domain.
    11. 11. Cooking up OER and the open ‘problem’. • Lack of relevant digitised material under an open-license. • Time-consuming rights negotiations. • Increase in open-literacy. • Encourage institutions to openly license their content.Image: Library of Congress, WW1 Poster Archive. Public Domain.
    12. 12. Academic writing or writingby an Academic?• Who holds the knowledge?• Does technology blur the boundaries between the academic author and the knowledgeable amateur? Image: Library of Congress, WW1 Poster Archive. Public Domain.
    13. 13. @Arras95: Contribute,Collaborate, Commemorate• Twitter campaign between 9th April and 16th May 2012.• Surface a key, but lesser taught, turning point of the War.• Increase the visibility of existing open content around this one focal point• Crowdsource an archive of knowledge about the event.
    14. 14. an example of new digitalstorytelling…temporally structured archivalblogging…moving us forward in the way welook at our particular corner ofhistory…Oxford’s precursor to tweeting theWW1 Centenary…
    15. 15. It is now cluttered and confused,not helped by tweetscommemorating the fallen; not Ifeel the purpose of the exercise.
    16. 16. One possible advantage of thebrevity imposed by the 140 charlimit, and the disjointed nature ofthings that some people havementioned: is that it gives someimpression of the fragmentary,and sometimes incorrect, nature ofthe reports being received on theway up the chain of command.
    17. 17. A knitted Battle of Arras Collection • 2545 Tweets • 9 new articles • 132 OERsImage: Library of Congress, WW1 Poster Archive. Public Domain.
    18. 18. @patlockley
    19. 19. Transforming learning via new digital content, openlicences, and critical commentary from within andoutside the academy is fundamental to moreextensive engagement with World War I.Digitaltechnology can exploit popular enthusiasm toencourage thought, rather than to enforce the“correct” opinion.But will this really move us beyond the trenches?
    20. 20. www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1litwww.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwawww.europeana1914-1918.eu ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk @WW1C | @WW1Lit @KTDigital

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