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Patricia Methven, Director of Archives & Information Management; Geoff Browell, Senior Archives Services Manager, King’s College London.

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Presentation on theme: "Patricia Methven, Director of Archives & Information Management; Geoff Browell, Senior Archives Services Manager, King’s College London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Patricia Methven, Director of Archives & Information Management; Geoff Browell, Senior Archives Services Manager, King’s College London

2 Purpose of project To survey the availability of hard copy and digital resources relating to the First World War in UK repositories To survey HE and FE teaching of the First World War and identify trends To provide expert academic guidance across a range of First World War subject areas To provide a priority list of available digital resources for a new JISC aggregation website meeting criteria of academic relevance & technical accessibility

3 Methodology Led by King’s College London Archives and Department of War Studies Academic Steering Committee: William Philpott, Professor of the History of Warfare (Chair); Simon Wessely, Director, King's Centre for Military Health Research Institute of Psychiatry; Max Saunders, Professor of English; Edgar Jones, Professor of the History of Medicine and Psychiatry; Andrew Lambert, Laughton Professor of Naval History; Ian Beckett, Visiting Professor of Military History, University of Kent; Dr Pierre Purseigle, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of Birmingham; Dr Hope Wolf, Teaching Fellow in Life Writing Project team: Lynelle Howson and Daniel Whittingham Focus groups of archivists, librarians and academics across a range of subject disciplines (x4) Desk research & telephone interviews Online surveys of teaching and of available hard copy and digital resources (Total returns: 230)

4 Contracted deliverables Report summarising the findings of the research, with appendices Spreadsheet listing institutions holding World War One-related material & summarising holdings; summaries of top websites with content and expert and amateur opinion about the War; available online digital content (built on original IWM/Wellcome supported survey) Priority list of digital resources for aggregation Database (additional) – to collect data on digital and hard copy resources on an ongoing basis

5 Findings: academic (teaching and research) 1 Top three themes taught are war experience (e.g accounts of battle), memory (e.g war memorials) and social and cultural experience of war (e.g recruitment, the Home Front) Clear correlation between existing teaching and available digital resources at both HE and school level - but regarded as limiting teaching and research rather than an indicator of adequacy Concern about over emphasis to date on trench experience and the Western Front Few examples of active engagement with digital material in teaching – images are mainly used for decoration in PowerPoint rather than in a more sophisticated way. Lack of time is cited as a significant reason Unmet digital resource needs in relation to the global experience of war (comparative studies between participant countries), multi-theatre operations (in particular non- Western Front), naval history, literature and colonial experience and impact (for example the lives and experiences of Indian or Caribbean servicemen)

6 Findings: academic (teaching and research) 2 Nursing and medicine are key themes but nursing in particular needs to be pieced together from disparate sources as central records have been destroyed. There is a need to bring these sources together on public health, STDs, health leaflets and grey literature generally to reassemble this information Themes still ripe for very considerable further research and teaching include class, gender, employment, trade and industry, food supply, temperance, regions of the UK, religion and faith Obvious gaps in print digitisation include official histories, maps and statistics. Print should be prioritised over more visual material. Runs of printed material are preferred over cherry-picking Challenge to capture sources for current scholarship on memorialisation and representation. What is what we are doing today saying about us? Why has the school curriculum significantly distilled to trenches and war poetry?

7 Findings: resources Significance of brand recognition: IWM versus JISC JORUM Impact of disappointed searches/retrieval expectations: use as dressing rather than substance Website sustainability/persistence: ‘This is something else you can look at but be wary’ Usability: TNA business model for materials heavily used by family historians militates against socio-demographic and epidemiological research Quantities of information digitised but sitting on CDs, drives etc and not advertised or accessible only by physical visitors (technical-IPR issues typically cited) Paucity of digitised print material over visual including official histories, maps and statistics

8 Findings: resources statistics 47.8% of respondents to the resources survey have digital material cleared for not-for-profit/educational use 67.2% do not require an institutional subscription to access digitised data Only 15% of first World War digitised content is aggregated with content from other resources 39.6% of digital content is only, or only partially, available for view in an institution, for example via a server or a CD 65.4% of digitised content created by the institution is freely available (this is not an indication of available extent) 31% of repositories are planning WW1-related activities or programmes for 2014

9 Findings: technical Few institutions have APIs Need for documentation from JISC to explain to institutions what an API is, how it can be made, sustained and used IPR checking required for many collections to go digital Lack of institutional support for advanced classroom technology – need for lightweight digital delivery

10 Recommendations/requirements for aggregation layer Frame searching from the home page by large disciplinary topics but underpinning searching needs to be completely porous Significance of context: include catalogue provenance, detail of % of collection digitised and selection criteria, catalogue description/metadata, display host repository contact details and location Include /point to rights cleared collection(s) of images cleared for immediate use Availability or pointers to podcasts by experts Ensure strong branding. Make explicit JISC/partner roles to avoid researchers contacting the wrong source institutions Ensure clarity about target audience and purpose Links to internationally significant resources e.g. Australian War Memorial, French digitised film, Berlin sound archives Provision of/links to tools that support the manipulation of material and/or exemplar case studies in bringing different types of material together e.g. a day in a battle; one soldier’s individual timeline

11 Aggregation layer: initial selection British Library (India Office/Empire-global theme) British Postal Museum (war memorials/memorialisation) Cartoon Archive, University of Kent (society and culture) LSE Digital Library (Trade unions and politics) National Maritime Museum (naval history) Serving Soldier (printed/private papers) Welsh Voices of the Great War (society and culture)

12 Other recommendations JISC Collections to be asked to review scope for academic licensing of commercial products produced by TNA and others JISC to consult with commercial contractors with a view to ensuring that future digitisation project data is structured in ways that support research, not only access for family history JISC/others to invest in bringing already digitised content online e.g. TNA MI5 papers and RAMC Journal JISC to guide and model creation and maintenance of institutional APIs to deliver content and/or highlight best existing practice from other sectors



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