As the anniversary of the start of conflicts of World War One (WW1) approaches in 2014, the JISC would like to explore what opportunities – creative, strategic and technological- there may be in the seamless provision of the rich content (from audiovisual to images to text based works to film) held by range of organisations across the public-sector to enhance educational and research opportunities in UK universities and colleges and more broadly.
A range of organisations collectively hold a wealth of unique and authoritative materials which could provide those in formal higher and further education, as well as the public with the chance to interact with new and innovative forms of education and research around the First World War in order to build upon our nation’s body of knowledge of this period.
A range of organizations, from funders to content holders, have been scoping national, European and global activity within the cultural heritage/ broadcast/ educational communities around the WW1 commemoration in a ‘real world’ and digital environment. Broadly, activities in all sectors aim to:
- Highlight the global nature of WW1 engagement, and ramifications for sectors in society e.g. migrant communities which have resettled in the UK
- Understand the legacy of WW1 in social, economic and political terms
- Encourage new academic interpretations around WW1 to challenges on received notions of historical fact and build on new areas of research and study e.g. the Home Front
- Make WW1 relevant to new audiences through personal connections to the war
- Provide a range of ways in which end-users wish to engage with the material
- Provide a mechanism for collaboration between publically-funded organisations to leverage most value from public expenditure and avoid duplication of effort and/or information deluge
JISC, with higher and further education collectively, 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. Additionally, universities and colleges will potentially be able to capitalise on the teaching, learning and research opportunities that collaboration with the cultural heritage/ public broadcast sectors will provide in terms of ‘opening up’ vast swathes of digital content of use to education and research.
A large body of work to support WW1 study has already been undertaken by JISC to support teaching, learning and research around WW1 through a range of digitisation and crowd-sourcing projects. An example of this work is The Great War Archive which digitised items contributed by the general public related to ‘someone’s experience of the First World War, either abroad or at home’. This has given rise to similar projects in participating countries e.g. in Germany, ‘Erster Weltkrieg in Alltagsdokumenten’
In order to provide higher education with the widest range of teaching, learning and research opportunities presented by the WW1 commemoration, digitised content must be discoverable, accessible, comprehensive, open and sustainable for the benefit of innovative teaching, learning and research.
Building on the work of the JISC eContent programme, the JISC WW1 Commemoration programmes aim to provide a wealth of unique and authoritative digital materials which are “comprehensive, open and sustainable”. To support specifically the JISC WW1 Commemoration programmes, but to eventually to support other digital content and service provision in education and beyond, JISC proposes to make clear its strategic and technical aims through this ‘Statement of Intent’. Essentially however, these materials will aim to provide a digital user experience that is as personal, rich and vivid as it is focused; an experience that offers the user the ability to contextualise their own understanding and customise resources in line with their own teaching, learning and research priorities.