The legacy of World War One in terms of social, economic and political global change cannot be overstated; it changed the individual’s view of society and their place within it with far-reaching effects into their future and our past. In the words of H.G. Wells: ‘This is the end and the beginning of an age’.
To mark this event in international history is therefore a key priority for custodians of heritage and educators alike.
We’ve already made considerable efforts to preserve online the memories and writings of those active during the First World War. The popular Great War Poetry Archive was funded by Jisc to digitise precious documents relating to the poetry of the Great War – including Wilfred Owen’s original notes for the well known poem Dulce et Decorum Est.
It also includes podcasts with eminent historians and veterans including the writer and broadcaster Ian Hislop talking about his grandfather’s experience in action and why he is so ‘obsessed’ with the First World War. The Serving Soldier collection might also interest you as a way of finding out about the lives of soldiers from 1899 to 1918, a period which spans the Second Boer War, Younghusband Expedition and World War One.
But now it's time to commemorate the 2014 anniversary. Higher and further education has a unique part to play in the WW1 commemoration because it can offer an academic appraisal and reappraisal of themes, events and perceptions. To help people in education who are studying the period, we are promoting a joined-up approach across many different organisations that currently hold audiovisual, images, text based works and film relating to the First World War. Jisc wants to explore how providing this in a more seamless way could help those working in education and research to access the resources. So as a result we’re planning two activities:
- Jisc WW1 Discovery programme- to aggregate digital content such as films from a range of digital collections and find new and innovative ways of presenting this content for the benefit of education and research on WW1.
- Jisc WW1 OER project- to create innovative Open Educational Resources around WW1 relevant across disciplines for embedding in teaching and learning using a range of content pertaining to WW1 in the UK and internationally, ready for release in March 2012
Jisc’s overriding goal for both activities is to work for researchers, teachers and students to produce digital content and resources that are comprehensive, open and sustainable, but that answer differing, specific needs within higher and further education. The plans are underpinned by a common strategic ‘direction of travel’ which is outlined most clearly in the Jisc Statement of Intent.
I look forward to updating you further as these projects progress.
To find out more about what’s planned visit the blog.