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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Effects of the GWF on information


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Just looking through letters from IWM, regimental museums prior to the birth of the forum, in fact some years prior. ie. the 90's when letters/phone calls/if lucky a visit, were the mode of collecting information, it seems that matters have greatly improved .

Could the forum for which Chris Baker will always be respected & remembered for have had a great influence on these repositeries being more forthcoming, albeit IT has assisted greatly.?

When I look at some of the letters from the above mentioned sources , seeking what in my mind were simple requests , a well known trench , a name etc. etc. were unknown, wrongly described, told to look elsewhere..

Could this forum & perhaps others I am not aware of have had such an influence.?



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Luddite and technophobe that I am, I have to accept that t'internet has had a remarkable impact on research in a very very short time. Of course, I don't just mean war research but, also, family history research or, even, just finding a decent restaurant in an unfamiliar town.

And I think you're right, Colin. Some websites have had a great impact. I often find, increasingly, that if I Google for something relatively obscure - say a trench location - I'll often be drawn to a GWF thread.


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and yet very few individual or organisational websites contain a link to the GWF.

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Many organisations will not link to sites which require a password and / or money to access the content or part of it. The BBC is one example of this.

Another policy some have is that they won't allow links to forums and message boards because the content is very fluid. It seems that they are anxious about providing a link to a site where the information is not reasonably static and which could change in character very quickly (eg if attacked, or if the character of the user body changes, or if vulnerable to infection because of its interactive nature).

Although I hold members of the GWF in high regard, and have respect for their knowledge, it is very rarely sourced and I think academic organisations look for a greater degree of rigour than is offered on an internet forum. You'll see endless disclaimers when links occur on websites of public bodies that they aren't responsible for the content or quality of linked sites.


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