Britain, Germany to create online WW1 archive

Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:07am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Britain and Germany plan to create a digital archive of personal memorabilia from World War One, Oxford University and the German National Library said on Thursday.

The two organizations, in conjunction with the European digital archive Europeana, said they would invite people from around Germany to bring items from family members involved in the war to be digitized, and to tell their stories.

Oxford University has already begun the process in Britain, creating what it calls the Great War Archive from family letters, photographs and keepsakes that it has collected and digitized from people across Britain.

Now the parties plan to roll out the scheme in Germany, Britain's arch-foe in two world wars, holding a series of roadshows in libraries around the country and creating a website for people to submit material online.

"We are proud to be part of this alliance. These artifacts and their stories have survived and we must record them while they are still part of family memory," German National Librarian Elisabeth Niggemann said.

"Little of this material will ever have been on public display, or been made available to historians. What the 1914-18 War demonstrates, especially at the personal level, is the futility of war, and the pity of it."

Europeana said it aimed to create partnerships with organizations from other theatres of the 1914-18 war, such as Belgium, France and the Eastern Front, so that their stories could also be included.

Europeana plans to make the material available online and through exhibitions, and also wants to work with educational organizations to develop teaching resources.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, editing by Paul Casciato)