Crowdsourcing a Community Collection (and the After Effects) Kate Lindsay, Alun Edwards & Ylva Berglund-Prytz, University of Oxford


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As the Centenary of the First World War approaches a plethora of projects and activities have begun to engage the public in the nation’s remembrance and commemorations. Many of these involve the collection of memories and experiences of the War passed down through families and across communities. Since 2008, the University of Oxford has harnessed the power of digital technologies to facilitate the collection of First World War memories and artefacts through an innovative community collection model, combining online and face to face engagement to crowdsource digital collections.

Presented by Alun Edwards at
The Museums Computer Group 'Museums on the Web' conference 2013 (UKMW13)
Tate Modern, 15 November 2013.
The theme for UKMW13 was ‘Power to the people’.

The Museums Computer Group: connecting, supporting, inspiring museum technology professionals

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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Crowdsourcing a Community Collection (and the After Effects) Kate Lindsay, Alun Edwards & Ylva Berglund-Prytz, University of Oxford

  1. 1. Crowdsourcing a Community Collection (and the After Effects) An overview of the Oxford Community Collection Model Nov 2013 Alun Edwards, University of Oxford @HurricaneAlly
  2. 2. Crowdsourcing a Community Collection The Oxford Community Collection Model Europeana 1914-1918 & 1989 RunCoCo After effects Stories …
  3. 3. This item is from The Great War Archive, University of Oxford (; © MAUREEN ROGERS
  4. 4. This item is from The Great War Archive, University of Oxford (; © MAUREEN ROGERS
  5. 5. First World War Poetry Digital Archive: Website
  6. 6. Crowdsourcing a Community Collection: Pilot project The Great War Archive (in the UK 2008), University of Oxford
  7. 7. Some Technicalities Poetry Digital Archive • • • • • Primary source material dispersed amongst libraries and archives in the UK, USA and Canada Digitisation performed by holding institutions according to project benchmarks Images digitised as High Quality TIFFs and delivered as „good enough quality‟ JPGs, Audio as MP3, Video as MPEG 4 Catalogued by trained cataloguers Quality Assured twice, including by a key expert in the field • • Dates, location, provenance, etc. Images digitally watermarked using DigiMark Cost £40 / item The Great War Archive • Primary source material held by individuals in the UK and abroad • Digitisation performed by the public using scanner/digital camera or by the project team at submission days Digitisation guidelines provided • • • • • Not mandatory All files types accepted Initially catalogued by the public Quality Assured and metadata expanded upon by the project team • Dates, location, provenance, etc. Cost £3.50 / item
  8. 8. After effects
  9. 9. Crowdsourcing a Community Collection: Flickr 7,469 photos 602 members Flickr image by ARōs (Ana Rodrigues)
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  12. 12. What’s a collection day like? 5 September, 2012 Presentation title, edit Page 13 in header and footer
  14. 14. Crowdsourcing a Community Collection: Where do I start? …IDEA
  15. 15. After effects
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  17. 17. Preservation Ephemeral documents, if not already housed in permanent public collections, are at risk from loss or casual destruction After effects Some owners decide, as a result of participation, to donate originals to a museum This item is from The Great War Archive, University of Oxford (; © P Vainker
  18. 18. The friendly face of public institutions After effects Some of the public who come to the collecting days are not regular museum visitors or familiar with the various forms of research and technology The new visitor benefits from seeing dedicated staff and an interesting subject, and so does the museum (widening their public image and users)
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  20. 20. After effects After effects Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum Banbury High School Lancashire Infantry Museum Copyright © 2013 Lancs CC. All Rights Reserved
  21. 21. • Aim for two-way engagement • Be part of your community • Challenge your assumptions Strategies for achieving each of these are described, along with real examples drawn from the projects with which we worked. After effects Sustainability strategies:
  22. 22. How easily can treasure, buried in the ground, gold hidden, however skillfully, escape any man! Project Woruldhord After effects
  23. 23. Merton@750 After effects
  24. 24. After effects Age Exchange: Children of The Great War “…major intergenerational theatre production where young and old will perform both theirs and others memories gathered through the many hours of reminiscence sessions and archive collation.”
  25. 25. Crowdsourcing a community collection TWO FINAL STORIES
  26. 26. This item is from The Great War Archive, University of Oxford (; © Jill Ross Photo submitted by the nephew of William Gaunt, (seated here) Nothing particularly unusual in this photo – which had been on the mantle-piece in William‟s widow‟s house?
  27. 27. After effects SCHOOL IN ACCRINGTON, KS2 YR 6 Copyright © 2013 Lancs CC. All Rights Reserved Heritage Learning Office, Lancashire County Cultural Services working with: • Burnley Youth Theatre • The Dukes Play House, Lancaster • Ludus Dance • Chorley Boys
  28. 28. Questions? RunCoCo for resources & consultancy @RunCoCo After effects