Wake up America! Can US museums use the Web to crowdsource user-generated content for the 2017-18 anniversaries using the new approaches piloted by the University of Oxford and made reality by Europeana?Professional Forum
Alun Edwards, University of Oxford, UK, Bill Brewster, First Division Museum, USA, Bob Beatty, Middle Tennessee State University, USA, Matt Naylor, National World War I Museum, USA
To discuss practical issues around crowdsourcing WW1 stories in the US this Forum is convened by: American Association for State and Local History; Europeana 1914-1918; First Division Museums (FDM); National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial; and the University of Oxford.
Just in time for the centenary of the First World War European national museums and local libraries ran crowdsourcing campaigns to gather family stories for the Europeana 1914-1918 website. Alongside professionally curated digital content (including 650 hours of newly digitised film), more than 13,000 stories (150,000+ digital objects) have been added so far in campaigns which are run by local teams. The user-generated content is gathered using "the Oxford Community Collection Model". This pan-European material is shared online so it can be re-used freely - for fun, for research or teaching, or for exhibitions.
Can US museums use the Web to crowdsource WW1 stories in time for the 2017-18 anniversaries using the new approaches piloted by the University of Oxford and made reality by Europeana? Their websites are Open Source so could be adapted for an American audience. A possible collection platform is nearly ready-to-go online!
As the primary storytellers from WW1 have died off it is important "for the survivors, us, to sustain their story... to keep it a vivid narrative that lives and breathes rather than something desiccated, rapidly receding into the past with ever-diminishing power to stir us..." (Rick Atkinson 2011). Professional curators may resist the desire to see more public involvement in the process even as our museum educators demand such openings and engagement. Knowledge of artefacts of this period is enlightened by the story of their use. The historical provenance is where the excitement and pathos lie. All the pristine and rare unattributed uniforms in our museums are not worth one torn and bloody rag. This is where engagement begins and should continue.
Professional Forum: American Association for State and Local History; Europeana 1914-1918; The First Division Museums (FDM); The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial; RunCoCo: How to run a community collection online (University of Oxford);
- Atkinson, Rick (2011): "The US Army in World War II: ten things you should know", (Pritzker Military Museum and Library April 28 2011)
- Berglund Prytz, Ylva (2013): "The Oxford community collection model" (University of Oxford June 24, 2013)
- Bernasconi, Jeffrey J. (2012): Cannon Fodder or Corps D'Elite? the American Expeditionary Force in the Great War. BiblioScholar.
- BibliothequeBnF (2013): "La Grande Collecte - Europeana 1914-1918: Entretiens" (BibliothequeBnF 13 Dec 2013)
- Blair, Dale (2014): The Battle of the Bellicourt Tunnel: Tommies, Diggers and Doughboys on the Hindenburg Line, 1918. Frontline Books
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- CBC Television (2013): "Canadian researcher trying to find the grave of 44 Vimy Ridge soldiers - before area gets developed" (As it happens Jul 11, 2014)
- CENDARI (Collaborative European Digital Archive Infrastructure)
- Chris Batt Consulting (2009): "Digitisation, curation and two-way engagement" (Jisc, August 24 2009)
- Edwards, Alun (2011): "RunCoCo: How to run a community collection online" (University of Oxford, March 2011)
- Englund, Peter (2011): The beauty and the sorrow: an intimate history of the First World War. Profile Books
- Faulkner, Ricahrd S. (2012): "Disappearing Doughboy: the American Expeditionary Force's straggler crisis in the Meuse-Argonne" in US Army: ‘Army History’ Spring 2012 PB 20-12 (No. 83) pp6-25, Washington DC
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- Harris, Stephen L. (2003): Harlem's Hell Fighters: The African-American 369th Infantry in World War I. Potomac Books Inc.
- "In Flanders Fields Museum - Europeana 1914-1918" (charlot2510111 Dec 14 2012)
- International Society for First World War Studies
- Lee, Stuart D. and Lindsay, Kate (2009): "If you build it, they will scan: Oxford University’s exploration of community collections" (EDUCAUSE Quarterly July 30 2009)
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- Mead, Gary (2001): The Doughboys: America and the Great War. Penguin History
- Merkel, Angela (2013): "Merkel: Lieber 20 Stunden länger verhandeln" (Bundesregierung May 24 2014)
- Paddock, Alexandra (2012) "Crowd-sourcing for engagement: RunCoCo" (August 13 2012) and video
- RTE (2012): "Family treasures at WWI roadshow" (RTE March 21 2012)
- Showers, Ben (2010): "Capturing the power of the crowd and the challenge of community collections" (Jisc, April 12 2010)
- Simon, Nina (2010): The Participatory Museum (March 2 2010 ISBN: 0615346502)
- Storer, Jackie (2014): Hidden stories of the First World War. British Library
- University of Oxford (2012): "2012 University Annual Review" (features "A Postcard from Hitler" video)
- 'Wake Up America!' [poster by] James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960). New York: The Hegman Print, 1917. Color lithographic poster, Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division (58D.6) http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm015.html