JISC World War One Commemoration: Activities & funded projects
Higher and further education has a key and unique part to play in the WW1 commemoration through an academic appraisal and reappraisal of themes, events and perceptions and how this can be effectively represented through technological means to support innovative teaching, learning and research. To support this, JISC is undertaking a number of activities in this area outlined below:
Aim: The ‘JISC WW1 Discovery programme’ aims to build an aggregation layer to present prioritised WW1 digital content from a range of digital collections across the UK so that related material can be more easily discovered and exploited by educators and researchers in higher and further education.
This programme has two componant phases that slot together to produce a coherent, comprehensive, open and sustainable resource in line with the JISC WW1 Statement of Intent.
“Digital Content for the First World War” - Kings College London
2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War One and the beginning of a succession of commemorations of landmark campaigns and battles alongside consideration of one of the biggest social upheavals the world has experienced in living memory. The ‘war to end all wars’ to this day remains the most widely covered in teaching in further and higher education and is a huge focus for research.
Despite, however, the growth of exciting multidisciplinary approaches to its study, little centralised information exists on what aspects of the war are being taught or the key research questions in development. Additionally, whilst there are an enormous number of collections on World War One in digital and analogue forms in a range of museums, galleries, archives, libraries and websites across the UK, much remains underexploited by education and research due to its sheer volume and complexities around access.
Based on the resulting study undertaken by Kings College London, ‘Digital Content for the First World War’ begins to addresses these questions and also makes the important point that the Centenary offers the opportunity to reappraise received notions of the experience and legacy of the conflict across disciplines. For example, it provides a spearhead for engagement with aspects of the war that have been little explored such as the global nature of the war, medical and nursing history and the study of wider economic and social issues.
From an organisational and policy perspective the report highlights that the development of efficient and effective strategic networks of content-rich organisations domestically and internationally are needed if we are to create unique and compelling digital content for the benefit of education and research. However, in order to aid closer alignment and reduce duplication of effort, the educational and cultural sector who are developing digital content or working to commemorate the Centenary, need to understand what content is available, under what conditions and where it was located. To support this, Kings College London have also developed a new online database ‘UK World War One Collections’ which captures information on UK university, archive, library and museum holdings relating to the conflict.
Through consultation in academic and professional focus groups, the project has also prioritised those resources which could be most usefully brought together online as part of 'Phase 2' of the JISC Discovery programme.
Download the Digital Content for the First World War report.
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The WW1 Discovery project aims to make resources about the First World War more discoverable, and find new and innovative ways to present this content for the benefit of education and research.
WW1 Discovery is a proof-of-concept project with the aim of making digital content resources more discoverable both by people and machines. We’re looking to achieve this by building an aggregation API and discovery layer for content from a range of digital collections, and by finding new and innovative ways of presenting this content for the benefit of education and research.
The guiding vision for the project is that “UK students, teachers and researchers will have easy, flexible and ongoing access to WW1 content and service through a collaborative, aggregated and integrated resource discovery and delivery framework which is comprehensive, open and sustainable.”
Funded by JISC, WW1 Discovery builds on activity undertaken by Kings College London, which identified and synthesised content in this area and identified the requirements of researchers and teachers. The project aims to deliver the technical vision of the overarching World War One Aggregation programme by building an exemplar to illustrate the principles of the Discovery initiative as well as a tool that will support researchers and teachers. We want to explore how data can be made to work harder, integrated and combined in new ways that can add value for researchers, teachers, and managers of information assets within libraries, archives and museums.
World War I Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings has built a substantial collection of learning resources available for global reuse. A rich variety of materials, including expert articles, audio and video lectures, downloadable images, interactive maps and ebooks are available under a set of cross-disciplinary themes that seek to reappraise the War in its cultural, social, geographical and historical contexts. Many of these resources have been specially created by the University of Oxford and partner academics for this website.
These resources are Open Educational Resources (OER), meaning that everything on the site is released under an open content licence. You are free to reuse the site’s resources worldwide whether you are a student, teacher, life-long learner or resource creator.
These resources have also been developed by a team of experts in the field of First World War Studies, across a range of higher and heritage institutions, and across a range of disciplines. They provide articles, resources, and academic guidance to the project team in their development of the site. A team of student ambassadors have worked to curate existing resources on the World Wide Web and add them to our resource library.
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Each of the above activities has different operational motivations, aims, outputs, methodologies and funding mechanisms but are underpinned by a common strategic ‘direction of travel’ which is outlined most clearly in the JISC Statement of Intent. JISC’s over-ridding goal for both activities is to produce digital content and resources that are comprehensive, open and sustainable, but that answer differing, specific needs within HE/FE.Further information on all activities is available on the programme blog.