Unlocking sources. The First World War online & Europeana

Unlocking sources. The First World War online & Europeana

Berlin State Library; Department of History at the Humboldt University in Berlin / Clio-online; German Film Institute - DIF e.V.; Europeana Foundation
Berlin State Library
From - Until
30.01.2014 - 31.01.2014
Thomas Meyer, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The year 2014 will be marked by the international commemoration of the beginning of the First World War in the summer of 1914. Numerous projects in research and education in Germany, Europe, and worldwide are dedicated to this event in different ways. The projects "Europeana Collections 1914-1918", "European Film Gateway 1914", and "Europeana 1914-1918" have digitized hundreds of thousands of sources from archives, museums, libraries, and individuals. These will, for the first time ever, be made available to the general public for free via the virtual library Europeana.

The completion of these three projects in 2014 offers the opportunity for a presentation and discussion of new digital offerings around the First World War and Europeana. The two-day conference at the Berlin State Library "Unlocking Sources - The First World War online & Europeana" will take the opportunity to discuss the mediation of history online in 2014. The international conference will be jointly organised by the project co-ordinating institutions Berlin State Library, the Department of History at the Humboldt University in Berlin / Clio-online, the German Film Institute - DIF e.V., and the Europeana Foundation. It will address interested scientific audiences and the public.

The conference is focused on the use of digital resources: How do digitized materials fit into research and teaching? How can different online activities contribute to the "digital humanities"? What ideas for the teaching of history in schools, museums, and media are developed? What are the strengths, and what are the weaknesses of the existing and newly created offers? In addition to the critical discussion and reflection at the panels, innovative projects approaching the theme of the "First World War" by using digital forms can present their results to a broader public.

Scientists, teachers, representatives of archives, libraries and museums are invited to reflect on questions of mediating history online and to present their research projects, course offerings / materials or digital sources in a 20-minute talk (English, German). Please send in an abstract (one page max.) by 15 July 2013. In addition, projects and ideas for projects can be presented as a poster or a presentation stand.

The proposed sections and panels will focus on the following topics:

Memory Cultures and the "seminal catastrophe of the 20th Century"

In the last decade the rediscovery of the First World War in the (popular) culture of remembrance is striking: Not only through numerous large exhibition projects of recent years, but also through the great media interest in the period 1914-1918 which is palpable in many television documentaries, feature films, popular history books etc.. Presented by the three projects, the Europeana collection can be understood as a communicative, digital memory which creates a new, comprehensive infrastructure for data stored in the memory of institutions from the period 1914-1918. The corpus can encourage audiences to use the presented sources not only as a material basis of historical reconstruction, but also to consider its possibilities as a medium of a European culture of remembrance.

Digital sources in research, education, and for the public - teaching of history and didactics

In the context of historical anniversaries educational institutions, cultural heritage institutions, and actors of cultural mediation align their activities to the upcoming anniversary year of the First World War. Online services are accorded particular importance in the general perception among funding bodies and users. The access to online sources is free of constraints in time and space in principle open to everyone. But do the established offers meet the users’ needs? What are the interests of individual, private users or scientific researchers? Do agents such as university or school history teachers find their needs reflected in the offer? At the same time, the question arises how user expectations and opportunities are to be reconciled. Also for discussion is the tension between user expectations for online services (dominated by private sector organisations such as Google), the conditions under which the project stakeholders can offer collections (due to metadata quality and technical capabilities), and available resources (cost, manpower, required skills).

Everyday life history of the First World War

The historiography of the First World War has experienced considerable change over the years. After dealing with "war guilt" and questions concerning military, diplomacy, and political history, the focus has subsequently shifted to the social and economic history. In the present, one deals also with the everyday and cultural history of the First World War, mostly in a transnational perspective. Now, different approaches to the history of the First World War stand next to each other or are even connected with each other. Available online sources and literature can accompany this historiographical paradigm shift. They are not only decipherable by specialized historians, they also accessible to a wider audience. But how can research and teaching employ sources such as digitized children's and school books, religious devotional works, war postcards, diaries and other unique objects? How can manuscript material, photos, leaflets and pamphlets, maps, music, front and trench magazines, satirical magazines and propaganda material, children's drawings and art prints be employed? How is it possible to put these materials into a wider context and make them clear and helpful both for a scientific and for a wider audience? How do these materials complement non-digital sources? Will digitised materials and techniques from Digital Humanities contribute to discovering new approaches?

Conference Website: <http://www.unlocking-sources.eu>

Europeana: <http://www.europeana.eu>

Europeana 1914-1918: <http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/de>

EFG 1914: <http://project.efg1914.eu/>

Europeana Collections 1914-1918: <http://www.europeana-collections-1914-1918.eu/>


Contact (announcement)

Thorsten Siegmann
Berlin State Library
E-Mail: <conference@ec1418.eu>
Phone ++49 (0)30 266 431451