Tuesday 17 November 2009

Broadside ballads, World War One, and History 2.0

Nobody could ever suggest that urban history doesn't take one to glamorous places. I was at a Curatorial Roundtable on Digitizing Broadside Ballads at the Bodleian last Friday. There were some really interesting ideas flying around, with contributions from senior staff from the Bodleian, librarians from across Europe, and yours truly, amongst a group of others. Alongside serious discussion about the problems facing digitization of these remarkable sources, we heard from those responsible for some major digitization projects at the Bodleian. This includes the Digital John Johnson collection, the originals of which live in the Bodleian. with which I was already familiar, and the First World War Poetry Archive, including the user-submitted Great War Archive, with which I was not. Blimey! This might be the best website I've ever seen. (Other than the present blog, naturally). Log on, even if you do not have one modicum of interest in this thing. They have some great resources. Everything you consider possible for a historical or archive website, they've done. Digitization, background materials, educational resources for every level from key stage one to university, twitter, facebook, forums, second life and more. This is really a lesson in what I would like to call History 2.0 ought to be done. They've even got a community forum which is outliving the funded element and people submitting material via Flickr.