World War 1 crowdsourcing success in Germany; more events announced

by | Jun 17, 2011 | 0 comments

by Tom Gilson, Associate Editor

The First World War in everyday documents shows how libraries can take a leading role working with other cultural and educational institutions to sponsor significant online projects. The German National Library teaming with Europeana and Oxford University have enabled “Hundreds of participants of all ages” to contribute “a great variety of personal memorabilia from World War I to the online project”

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Full Press Release:

“Erster Weltkrieg in Alltagsdokumenten” – The First World War in everyday documents

Overwhelming Public Participation in the Project

Berlin, 10 June 2011: Hundreds of participants of all ages have contributed a great variety of personal memorabilia from World War I to the online project Due to the overwhelming success, four additional participation days will take place in Dresden, Erfurt, Kiel and Regensburg in June/July 2011.

Ranging from individual field postcards and photos to huge albums, detailed diaries or commemorative beer mugs to an entire box filled with a sword, spiked and steel helmets and a regiment’s grave cloth, everything imaginable has been among the contributions. A rather unusual item is a ‘delousing chit‘, the use of which was probably limited to one unit only. It informed the bearer, soldier Berger, that he was now clean and free of vermin of the trenches. It is documentary evidence of soldiers being communally bathed, or perhaps more accurately dunked and rubbed down, in disused breweries, or mobile bath units.

Maybe even the fate of Otto Arndt can be clarified now. He was a German soldier and prisoner of war and close friend of the British L.A.C. Bernard Darley. A short film made as part of the project tells the story of the friends’ heroic deed.

The project “First World War in everyday documents” started on 24 March 2011. It is a joint initiative of Europeana, the German National Library and Oxford University. Overall more than 350 people attended the previous four participation days in Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart. Over 15,000 digital images were taken from documents and memorabilia brought in. A large part of the contributions is already catalogued and is publicly available for research on the project website, along with directly uploaded objects.

Further Public Participation Days

  • Stadt- und Regionalbibliothek Erfurt, 14 June 2011, 10-18 h
  • Sächsische Landes- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden, 22 June 2011, 10-18 h
  • Zentralbücherei Kiel, 29 June 2011, 10-18 h
  • Staatliche Bibliothek Regensburg, 20 July 2011, 10-18 h



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