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HIST2600: Historical Methods (World War I Era Focus): Web-Based Digital Collections

Web-Based Digital Collections

AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History
A large and growing directory of links to historical documents on the web, organized chronologically. Maintained by by George Laughead Jr., manager of the World Wide Web Virtual Library for United States History.

Library of Congress Digital Collections
The Library of Congress makes available multimedia collections of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and text from the Library's Americana collections. Many historical collections are now available through this site, including over seven million digitized items (e.g., maps, pamphlets, sheet music, photographs, broadsides, films, sound recordings, notebooks, periodicals and manuscripts). Among the collections most relevant for this course are:

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
The DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA — photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more — are free and immediately available in digital format.

The [British] National Archives: The Cabinet Papers, 1915-1977
"Peering into the world of any nation's government can be quite revealing, and this look into the British government is quite a generous one. Created by the National Archives in Britain, this site affords interested parties comprehensive access to Cabinet papers from 1915-1977. Visitors can browse through these papers by themes that include "Diplomacy and foreign relations", "Finance and the economy", and "Total war". Those visitors who might be unfamiliar with the operations of the British government may wish to first stop by the "Cabinet and Government" area. Here they can browse over a "Who's who" section, learn the nuts and bolts of the Cabinet government, and read a selection of previously classified documents that deal with both World Wars." [Internet Scout Project]
Centenary of the First World War, 1914-1918 (from the Australian War Memorial)
"The Australian War Memorial is commemorating the centenary of the First World War by engaging in a sophisticated and nuanced redevelopment of its First World War galleries and related exhibits. Users of this site will get a great peek into these new galleries, along with access to the Memorial's YouTube video channels and blogs. Visitors should click on over to the ANZAC Voices to learn about the experiences of different soldiers who were engaged in war, including Lieutenant John Raws and Private Reginald Donkin. The First World War Research area is a great place to learn about doing family history research, check out a summary of the First World War, or look at the Australians at War area. This contains additional military history overviews, and links to This Month in Australian Military History." [Internet Scout Project]
Europeana 1914-1918
Europeana 1914-1918 is based on an initiative at the University of Oxford where people across Britain were asked to bring family letters, photographs and keepsakes from the War to be digitised. The success of the idea – which became the Great War Archive – has encouraged Europeana, Europe's digital archive, library and museum, to bring other national institutions across Europe into an alliance with Oxford University. The collaboration brings European stories online alongside their British, German, Slovenian, Luxembourgian, Irish, etc. counterparts in a World War One stories collection. The project is collecting memorabilia and stories from the period of the Great War (1914-1918). This phase of the project is focussing on European items: letters, postcards, photographs and stories from Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland, Slovenia and the UK.

Experiencing the War: Stories from the Veterans History Project
"The films of Ken Burns have covered the exuberance of jazz in the United States, the world of baseball, and most recently, the experiences of Americans during World War II. Working with the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, film-maker Ken Burns and staff members created this companion website to the film series. The site includes letters, diaries, interviews, and memoirs." [Internet Scout Project]
First World
"Created and maintained by Michael Duffy, this site amasses an impressive amount of valuable cultural, historical, and social documentation of 'the Great War.' The site begins with some highlighted collections, such as Peace and Truce on the Western Front, Photo Reconnaissance, and Keeping 'em on The Farm. While the Web site is a work-in-progress, visitors will enjoy browsing through different sections that offer a broad portrait of the causes of the war (How it Began), the different political and military leaders involved in the conflict (Who's Who), and the war's technological innovations (such as flamethrowers and machine guns) that made this first modern war possible. Persons looking for first-hand accounts of the war should go to the Memoirs and Diaries section, which contains dozens of documents recounting the personal experiences. Historians will appreciate the primary documents that lead up to the beginning of the war itself and continue to 1919. Overall, it is a well-thought out site, and one that is both engaging and quite informative." [Internet Scout Project]
The Great War: Poetry, Postcards, Links (from Emory University)
"During the First World War, many artists and members of the literati offered their impassioned feelings about the conflict and its aftermath in the form of poetry. Created by the scholar Harry Rusche, this site was designed as a resource for courses in World War I poetry. The site contains sections such as 'Poetry,' 'Postcards,' and 'Links.' Visitors will want to begin their journey through the site by clicking on the 'Poetry' area, where they will find digitized versions of rare poetry volumes that address various aspects of this world conflict. Specifically, they might do well to look over the 'Flower of Youth: Poems in War Time' volume, which contains the poems 'A Girl's Song' and 'To One in Grief.' The 'Postcards' section offers a number of postcards created during World War I that deal with different aspects of nationalism, the military, and life on the homefront." [Internet Scout Project]
World War I (Primary Sources from the Internet Modern History Sourcebook)
A modest but well-organized collection of links to primary source material about World War I. Some of the documents are translated into English from other languages and the transcription are maintained on the host site.
World War I Document Archive (at Brigham Young University)
" The World War I Document Archive is a Web site constructed by the World War I Military History List (WWI-L). The most useful sections include a file on 'Conventions, Treaties, and Official Papers' and an extensive 'Documents Year-by-Year' collection that is the strongest offering. Site holdings stress the most important documents, though they are weighted toward an Anglo-Saxon bias, especially in the section that includes personal reminiscences. French sources seem few, given the critical role France played in the war; and yet, the site contains links to an online version of Gabriel Hanotaux's difficult-to-find Illustrated History of the conflict, which he began in 1915 and which runs 17 volumes. Given that many of the contributors are themselves scholars of the Great War, the holdings are generally reliable. There are links to other Great War Web sites. Navigation through the archive is simple. The site is of the greatest utility for undergraduates seeking the most important primary source documents of the war." [Choice]
World War One Documents (from the Internet Archive)
Collection of over 14,300 documents in the public domain pertaining to the First World War era. In addition to the collection's home page link, making use of the subject index page to locate relevant documents is strongly recommended.

Subject Guide

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Richard Kearney
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Electronic Resources Librarian
Reference and Information Services Office, Room 107g
David and Lorraine Cheng Library
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ 07470