Crowdsourcing and history, Europeana Erster Weltkrieg Project collects people's memories

The first roadshow of the Erster Weltkrieg Project taking place in Frankfurt am Main on 31 March represents the first milestione of this initiative launched by Europeana. The project, promoted by the European digital archive Europeana, has brought together the German National Library and Oxford University in order to collaborate and  roll out the Great War Archive initiated by the University of Oxford, bringing German stories online alongside their British counterparts in a 1914-18 archive.

On 24 March Europeana made a call for contributions launching the “The First World War in everyday documents” Project. In this first phase, the project is collecting memorabilia and stories from the period of the Great War (1914-1918), focussing on German items: letters, postcards, photographs and stories from Germany or with a German connection. Following the launch of the project, four roadshows are place starting in Frankfurt am Main on 31 March, followed by Berlin on 3 April, Munich 6 April and ending in Stuttgart on 12 April.

Those people willing to contribute to the project can send their pieces of documents either through the Europeana Erster Weltkrieg project website by adding a picture of the item or typing in the story online; or at the project roadshow events by bringing the items to the event where project staff will photograph the items and record the stories that go with them.

Until 2014, the year of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, the project will collect memorabilia in digital form from many of the countries involved in the War. The project, funded by the Europeana Foundation, aims to save people’s family memories of this tragedy that convulsed Europe and make them accessible to the world.

Crowdsourcing, culture, history and people's memories

One innovative aspect of the project is the application of crowdsourcing - collecting input from people at large and assembling a wide variety of family memorabilia which will be made accessible to the public and to researchers.

In 2008, Oxford University produced a remarkable collection of 1914-18 papers, pictures, souvenirs and memorable stories, digitised by people across the UK and the Commonwealth in the Great War Archive. Now Europeana has joined effort with the the German National Library – die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, and the University of Oxford, to expand the experience to German memorabilia about the Great War.