It’s been nearly three years since we launched the First World War Poetry Digital Archive, but this is one project that is not disappearing into No-Man’s Land. With the recent formation of the First World War Centenary Group, bodies from over the globe are joining together to look at how we commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the First World War between 2014 and 2018. The team of the archive are actively involved in discussing how best to share knowledge and best practice, and tackle funding to ensure that the digital remembrance.
Since its launch, the project team have been successful in winning funding to undertake spin-off projects to further develop our digital collections and models of engagement. Teacher workshops were run to develop OER for teaching First World War Studies, and crowdsourcing models were developed to run the Great War Archive in Germany and train others to undertake similar initiatives. Money was awarded to digitise other poets and we investigated the use of Web 2.0 to visualise archival data in inspiring ways. The great things all this has given us is time.
Projects need to have time to create an impact. Both research and resources need time to move into communities of practice and become known. As is the case with many grant-funded projects in HE, when project funding ends so do staff contracts and time that can be dedicated to evaluating projects and keeping them alive. Developments we completed in 2008 are only now becoming noticed by the relevant communities. This continuation of the project in various guises has given us the advantage of being able to look at and evaluate what we have done. We have had the advantage (and the pleasure) of being able to get to ‘know our users’ and gauge our impact. This is information we can share with others embarking on centenary projects.
We began this process by presenting to a selection of UK based organisations within the centenary group with a comparative audience analysis of those who contributed to the Great War Archive in the UK and in Germany. You can see the slides on slideshare.