The National Archives (of Great Britain) has just launched a huge project to digitize First World War unit war diaries. (See my earlier article about those diaries at http://goo.gl/dlV1Gu.) The diaries are amongst the most popular records in at The National Archives and scanning them has been the biggest digitisation project undertaken so far.
300,000 diary pages of the first three cavalry divisions and the first seven infantry divisions to arrive on the Western Front are already available online. By the end of this year, The National Archives hopes to have published the rest of the diaries that have been digitised, around 1.5 million pages in total.
Now The National Archives is asking for YOUR help to make this collection even more valuable. The project hopes to create new "Citizen Historians," working together to make previously inaccessible information available to academics, researchers and family historians worldwide, leaving a lasting legacy for the centenary of the First World War.
Operation War Diary volunteers will transcribe the information that’s currently locked away in the war diaries by asking volunteers to tag any data they find, whether it’s a person, place, or activity. The present collection contains images but usually not the names in the diaries. As a result, searching the diaries for names is not very effective today.
The National Archives is asking you and thousands of other volunteers to read the names, locations, and activities and to add them to each image. If you can spare an hour of your time – more if you can spare it – to read and tag a few diary pages. The data you extract will be added to the appropriate image in the database, making it possible to search for those names, places, or activities.
Your efforts will greatly help future genealogists and historians.
You can read more about this worthwhile project at http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/operation-war-diary-archive-needs/. The diaries are available at http://www.operationwardiary.org/.