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Tuesday 20 November 2012

How will you commemorate the First World War centenary? #ndf2012

How will you commemorate the First World War centenary?
Virginia Gow @vexus_nexus and Douglas Campbell, WW100 and Auckland Museum

What is your organisation doing to commemorate the centenary of the First World War?
The First World War (1914–1918) was one of the most significant events of the twentieth century and had a seismic impact on New Zealand society. Ten percent of our then population of one million served overseas, of which more than 18,000 died and over 40,000 were wounded. Nearly every New Zealand family was affected.
In this session, join Virginia Gow and Douglas Campbell to get some pointers on preparing your organisation for WW100 – New Zealand’s First World War centenary commemorations. We’ll cover some of the activities already underway in the digital GLAM sphere, how you might contribute to national initiatives such as the Cenotaph redevelopment, and hold an open discussion on how we can support each other to be ready for WW100.

Virginia: Centenary of WWI coming up in 2014. Why are we commemorating it? Is there anything left to digitise?

Nearly half of NZ's young men went to war. Events touched every family, community, school, workplace. Aim to tell stories, not sanitised. Create a comprehensive website of the WWI history Aims: Public engagement, preservation of our heritage, creation of new interpretations of our history, international connections.

Funding opportunities available - applications close Nov 2012, May 2013. Have created symbol and official name for even (available on website). Programme office no mandate or intention to organise everything. Providing support for things but mostly facilitating activities elsewhere.

What does the centenary mean for us as GLAM institutions?

Of note: photographs taken by NZers before 1944 are probably out of copyright.

Could be good to get together, figure out what we've got and what's out there, then pulling it together in meaningful ways. What story will we tell the future about this centenary? (eg people using Twibbons as people in the first Anzac Day commemoration wore hats?) An opportunity for the GLAM sector to shine especially if we work together / collaborate.

Private mailing list available to discuss plans - contact the programme office for info.

Douglas: working on Cenotaph redevelopment. Cenotaph is a biographical database for NZers who served in war. Records for most of 100,000 NZers who fought overseas and have died. Records may have details and photos, or may only have name rank and serial number.

Will keep a page per soldier but jazz it up a bit and add other entry points - maps, battalions, battles. Could have much more content available out in the GLAM sector. GLAM could contribute; links could go both ways. Users could contribute info/photos about family. Crowdsource research, digitisation, transcriptions, stories both typed and audiovisual, corrections (eg bad machine data matching, mistakes in official records, soldiers giving wrong date of birth). Provide data (vocabularies, authoritative data, international data, linked data) back to institutions. Make databases available to academic research. Will be complicated so hope to partner with DigitalNZ.

Curly questions:
  • scope (which people, which wars?)
  • centralisation - should it all be on Cenotaph or should it link out?
  • ownership
  • provenance - how do we make sure we know which data is curated, which crowdsourced, etc?

Note service numbers aren't unique but can use Cenotaph number which should (hopefully!) be permanent.

Q: Data going to institutions and academics but back to users who contributed it. Will we see an Open API?
A: Hope so but will be curly as integrate data from various sources.

Q: How do we turn commemoration into something inclusive of all NZers including those whose ancestors fought on other side?
A: We're just one project among many all around the world. There are other ways into the centenary than Cenotaph eg life a hundred years ago.

Q: Is there an index to conscientious objectors?
--Apparently there's one in the Gazettes.

Q: Can you commit to the Cenotaph ID being permanent?
A: Yes, so commits. <audience applause>