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Brian Curragh

IWM Lives of the Great War Project - reservations

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Seadog

Good points and very well made, I also have reservations with regard to the entire concept of requesting the input of the public in this project requiring apparently as it does named checkable sources and references which can and no doubt will be questioned by others when the data is published and all this after 100 years when there is nobody to confirm or disprove the accuracy of the information submitted.

In respect of the 8 million figure I seriously doubt whether even a very small proportion of this will ever be achieved and if it is then to what end?, for in the majority of cases will not the data be of interest only to the immediate family of the subject for sadly the vast majority of the stories submitted will I reckon be concerning the dead and such stories will be broadly similar whist those who survived will be much more difficult to create given that much of the basic information was not recorded.

As an example my own paternal grandfather served as a farrier in the war but this was never spoken of and I never saw sight of his medals etc. I really do think that requesting stories of those who served including the home front similar to the BBC WW2 “Peoples War” would have been a much better bet than stipulating what appears to be a biographical and checkable format which in my opinion will be detrimental to those who may wish to add their stories to the archive. I would not be surprised if revisions are made by the IWM to make the exercise much more “user friendly” in order to relate to the general public who are not researchers but who have a tale to share from their family history.

It would be good if the IWM actually published on their website a specimen story fulfilling their criteria including checkable references so that we can see just what such input is intended to look like.

Norman

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David_Underdown

Remember that part of the point of this project is that entries will be created automatically from official sources which will automatically give some sort of entry for a fair proportion of the 8 million. This includes non-British sources such as National Archives of Australia, Library and Archives Canada and the Auckland War Memorial Museum (which runs the very comprehensive Cenotaph database of NZ service personnel). As we all know they don't have the issues with service record being destroyed in WWII

Wikipedia, for all its faults, has shown just what can be achieved with volunteer input on a large scale

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KClements

Dear all,

There seem to be several areas of concern about the Lives of the First World War project so, on behalf of IWM, I will address each of those here in turn:

1) Accuracy

The team at IWM, the Academic Advisory Panel and our partners at brightsolid are all concerned that the information contained in Lives of the First World War is as accurate as possible. There are 2 issues: the accuracy of the data provided and the association of that data with the correct individual. IWM will be creating the life story profiles to avoid duplication. The data sets provided through the platform will be official sources such as service records. Users will be also able to upload their own information from other referenced sources, digital images and anecdotes. Each type of information will be clearly labelled and referenced. There will be various ways of verifying and challenging links.

2) Charging

Lives of the First World War will bring together in one place collections from museums, libraries and archives across the globe. This is a huge and costly undertaking. IWM and many of the other supporting organisations are contributing their information, expertise and services for free wherever possible. Users will be able to access the platform for free and add their own material to a life story profile. Subscribers will be subscribing directly to Lives of the First World War - this will enable them to access the original images of premium content data sets and special features.

3) Contributing

We fully appreciate that many individuals have conducted significant amounts of research over many years. We believe that by offering an opportunity to share this expertise with a global audience we can increase levels of knowledge and understanding about the First World War. It will also ensure that this invaluable resource is saved for future generations - something which many individuals or small organisations are not able to do. Any material which is added to the platform for free will remain free to view. To ensure that issues such as copyright and IPR are properly acknowledged there will be a User agreement. This will enable IWM to maintain the permanent digital memorial and ensure that it remains accessible for future generations.

Please see the FAQs on the Lives of the First World War microsite for further details about many of these points: http://www.livesofth...t-questions.php

Regarding queries about the role of brightsolid within the Lives of the First World War project, please see the Press Release which can be found here: http://www.livesofth...latest-news.php

Kind regards,

Kate Clements

IWM FWWC

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Andy Wade

Thank you for that Kate.

What would be the actions of the IWM should someone think it's a good idea to lift say 'all the information about the Bradford Pals' and produce it in a book for sale worldwide? Would they be able to chase them up over copyright infringement? Bearing in mind that never before seen letters may surface and be submitted, I think it's a real possibility.

If it is going to remain free to view, then I would certainly look into discussing this with the other directors of the Men of Worth project for a future plan, We have almost 5 thousand names and are about a quarter of the way into the research at the moment. We are hoping to include everyone who served and returned and also some of the people who stayed behind to help with the war effort, such as munitions workers and even those who made camouflage netting, pots and pans etc as we think they all played their part.

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lukesmith

Hello Everyone,

I'd like to add a few personal thoughts to Kate's response above. Mainly, I'd like to say that I can understand all your reservations. I would share some of them, if I were in your position. As Keith and others have said, all will become clear in time. If I could ask anything of you at this stage, it would be an attitude of cautious optimism.

We are very serious about getting this right -- that is why we have engaged with this forum and that is why this is the only place where we are joining a public conversation so early on. Your concerns and advice are being heeded. In time we will be inviting you to help us more directly and I believe that those who do will play a central role in something extraordinary. But I would say that, wouldn't I!

Also, I'd like to thank you for all your thoughts so far, including your reservations.

warm wishes,

Luke (Smith)

IWM

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KClements

Thank you for that Kate.

What would be the actions of the IWM should someone think it's a good idea to lift say 'all the information about the Bradford Pals' and produce it in a book for sale worldwide? Would they be able to chase them up over copyright infringement? Bearing in mind that never before seen letters may surface and be submitted, I think it's a real possibility.

If it is going to remain free to view, then I would certainly look into discussing this with the other directors of the Men of Worth project for a future plan, We have almost 5 thousand names and are about a quarter of the way into the research at the moment. We are hoping to include everyone who served and returned and also some of the people who stayed behind to help with the war effort, such as munitions workers and even those who made camouflage netting, pots and pans etc as we think they all played their part.

Hi Andy Wade

This is a complex area as it combines a number of types of copyright, including database rights, image rights, private documents, transcriptions and more. This is further complicated by the 'factual' nature of some of the data -- and there can be no copyright in 'facts' themselves. Technically, people can copy from here as they can from anywhere on the internet (whether they are permitted to or not). Some forms of 'copying' would be legitimate, some would be permitted in certain cases (e.g. non-commercial uses), others would be forbidden. It's difficult to consider potential examples at this time. When the platform goes live, we will make very clear what can and can't be done. Usually when such terms are violated, a simple letter suffices to stop the infringement. We would consider taking some further form of action, but only as a last resort should other avenues fail.

Kind regards,

Kate Clements

IWM FWWC

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stiletto_33853

Dear all,

There seem to be several areas of concern about the Lives of the First World War project so, on behalf of IWM, I will address each of those here in turn:

2) Charging

Lives of the First World War will bring together in one place collections from museums, libraries and archives across the globe. This is a huge and costly undertaking. IWM and many of the other supporting organisations are contributing their information, expertise and services for free wherever possible. Users will be able to access the platform for free and add their own material to a life story profile. Subscribers will be subscribing directly to Lives of the First World War - this will enable them to access the original images of premium content data sets and special features.

3) Contributing

We fully appreciate that many individuals have conducted significant amounts of research over many years. We believe that by offering an opportunity to share this expertise with a global audience we can increase levels of knowledge and understanding about the First World War. It will also ensure that this invaluable resource is saved for future generations - something which many individuals or small organisations are not able to do. Any material which is added to the platform for free will remain free to view. To ensure that issues such as copyright and IPR are properly acknowledged there will be a User agreement. This will enable IWM to maintain the permanent digital memorial and ensure that it remains accessible for future generations.

Please detail the user agreement Kate, those of us who have had dealings with the IWM before for projects etc are now a little shall we say wary of the IWM and its policies regarding images that have been donated to them.

"Any material which is added to the platform for free will remain free to view" so am I to gather from this that all material that you bring in from various other museums/organisations will be charged for, in essence creating another pay to view site???

The commercial aspect and the copyright issue are still of grave concern. Your frequently asked questions do not deal with the nitty gritty of some peoples concerns.

Do not get me wrong, I am a fan, but, before I hand anything over of the years of research conducted into the area that interests me I would want more detail, a lot more.

Andy

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lukesmith

Hi Andy,

Just a quick note before I head out the door. We will address your concerns, in the detail you require, in due course. Before we ask anyone to upload anything, we will publish clear terms and conditions, so you know exactly what you are signing up for. We will consult with various people, including members of this forum, before we finalise these terms. As with any terms and conditions there will be some who choose not to accept them, and that is understandable.

IWM already makes some material available online for non-commercial re-use. We will make large volumes available for free access in Lives of the First World War, as will other museums and archives. Some other material will be chargeable for online access, as it is already on other platforms. The full details of this will become clear by the time we go live, later this year. I know that many of you have spent significant personal time researching life stories from that period, we value your expertise and we are sensitive to your concerns. As before, all I ask now is some cautious optimism and acceptance of our assurance that all will become clear.

best wishes,

Luke (Smith)

IWM

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Doctord84

Like many, I find myself wearing two hats, as I have signed up to the IWM project (along with colleagues in our museum service) in a professional capacity, partly so we can download some free resources for use in our exhibitions - there are various images and other itemsfrom the IWM's collections available to partners - and also because of the marketing/publicity opportunities. Most of what we do is available for free, but being taxpayer funded, we have to look for whatever additional free resources we can find. There will probably be regional spin offs from the IWM project - website(?) leaflet(?) which we will no doubt take part in and our own collections are online.

But i fully understand the concerns about loss of control of personal material that has been painstakingly researched and the commercial use of the same. Hopefully sufficient safeguards will be in place to reassure most people.

Legacy is extremely important. We can easily wait too long and that opportunity to pass it on is lost. Personally I'm leaving a copy of my family history material to an appropriate Archives in my will and am hoping to get the main narrative published through "Lulu" or something similar shortly. I had a nasty scare recently when my laptop packed in and I thought I'd lost everything! - luckily I hadn't but it was a sobering moment.....

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Guest

" I had a nasty scare recently when my laptop packed in and I thought I'd lost everything! - luckily I hadn't but it was a sobering moment..... "

Get it 'backed up ' next time you won't be so lucky. I have mine on 4 different hard drives in 3 different locations. :w00t: Well, you never know.

Mike

By the way, there are many External Hard Drive systems available, and cheap as chips.

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dycer

My reservations are limited due to fact I live in England but have inherited a few Family WW1 artefacts i.e. pre and war-time Scots TF Battalion "soldier" photographs.

I accept,that they may be items the IWM does not require for its project.

I have already sent electronic copies, of the photos, to a Forum colleague who now displays them, on "his Scots Town at War" web-site.

How does the IWM propose to "capture" information,freely obtained but now contained, on these "unofficial" web-sites?

George

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Pighills

Having read all the arguments, for and against, I still can't decide whether I'm in favour of this project. As said upthread, I shall give it time, see how it evolves, and then decide.

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keithmroberts

George

They will create a database based on official records, and then invite the world to add information and data. They won't capture data from private records, but will happily allow the data owner to upload it, and to retain copyright in their own images. We'll know more about costs later, but I suspect that the subscription element will be where one moves from base data, to additional images held on the commercial sites. However, that will emerge at some stage.

Keith

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dycer

Keith,

As daft as it sounds I am glad for your reply.

I can now lend my WW1 personal artetacts,to a local English School,for history,or the Scots Town,of the participants birth,for remembrance,in the 2014-18 period, assuming they are interested,without "worrying" about the IWM and all it stands for.

George

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Auimfo

I can understand the concerns of all those (including myself) who have volunteered countless hours of their own time to research and compile comprehensive databases of those who served during WW1. People are obviously worried that all their time and efforts would be simply made freely available for others to use as they want. But my question is simply, 'why did you do it then?'. Ultimately, these wonderful resources that we've all compiled are really just going to waste unless they can be shared. If others use the information, isn't that a good thing? (agreeing that due acknowledgement in any type of publication would be appropriate).

Yes, I fully understand that letting go of all the information gathered over the years for a pet project will probably result in some separation anxiety - no doubt I will suffer with this as well - but to know that all the stories and facts we unearth today will be preserved for our future generations is a satisfaction greater than any other kind of recognition.

I don't believe we are the owners of these people's stories and it seems completely against the ethos of 'remembrance' to keep them to ourselves, just to potentially be lost again when we are gone.

If I understand the IWM's LGWP correctly, anything contributed free will remain free to access, but the one thing I would also recommend to them is that complete access to the entire database be made available 'free of any charge' to schools.

Anyway, that's just my rambling thoughts. :thumbsup:

Cheers,

Tim L.

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John_Hartley

If others use the information, isn't that a good thing? (agreeing that due acknowledgement in any type of publication would be appropriate).

Without reservations - yes.

My own website includes details on some 3000 men who died and are commemorated on local memorials. From time to time, I get emails from folk wanting to use extracts. I always say "yes". And I always say a credit would be nice but isnt essential - as I'm happy to share the info.

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Chris_Baker

the IWM and all it stands for.

Please explain.

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Andy Wade

Without reservations - yes.

My own website includes details on some 3000 men who died and are commemorated on local memorials. From time to time, I get emails from folk wanting to use extracts. I always say "yes". And I always say a credit would be nice but isnt essential - as I'm happy to share the info.

How about if someone took the lot off your site and started selling it though? I think this is the nub of the matter, that there's a commercial interest involved and it's the extent of that commercial interest that isn't fully clear yet. That's how it is for me anyway. Mainly because we have had grant funding to create our archive in the first place and to allow it to be sold even in part, would go against the spirit of the grant.

I do want everyone to have free access to the information under the terms of the project which would be for private/non-commercial use. If a school wanted to download a whole set of information about former pupils who had served in the Great War then that's exactly what we had in mind when the project was envisaged. Profit is another matter altogether.

As far as running a website and the associated costs then a peppercorn membership fee should be able to cover that. Like a quid for a year or something, with any small surplus going back into the project to be used in the community interest

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keithmroberts

i think it is pretty clear from the published information that uploaded material and information will remain free. Where the record links to say, images from the census on FMP or simolar sites, then to access those a subscription would be required. That is my reading from the information published so far, but I could have misunderstood. Let's wait for the pilot stages, which will be open to us, and by then the detailed terms will hopefully be clear.

Keith

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John_Hartley

How about if someone took the lot off your site and started selling it though?

I think I might be a bit peeved that I hadnt thought of a way of making a quid or two out of my hobby.

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dycer

Please explain.

Chris,

For me,the IWM is the premier repository,in UK,of WW1 information.

This information is not complete and is not infallible.The IWM is, therefore, always seeking further WW1 information and to correct errors to retain its place as the "premier repository" to allow individual unbiased research or general education but not for profit!

You recently,on the Forum, highlighted a profit seeking Forces Research web-site,which is using your WW1 research for its own gains.

I share your disgust and trust the IWM project will not fall into the same trap.

George

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Chris_Baker

Thank you. Much clearer. I don't think for a moment that IWM has any intention of doing so.

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Tom Lang

If ALL of the information and data is made 'totally free' in perpetuity, could a publisher, who might attempt to exploit the use of this data for profit, be made subject to a severe penalty? Tom.

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tn.drummond

I have to say this thread saddens me.

As a collector of WW1 photographs and postcards I am very well aware of the financial value that such items can command - copyright is a valid issue. I also research these items, which I have collected over some 40 years and researched and collated over the past 5 years, and so I am also aware of the cost in time and research.

But...

...What exactly is the problem ?

Is it some fear that your contribution will be financially exploited ? Then simply don't post.

Is it some fear that your items will be available across the WWW ? Then don't post what you don't want pirated - it will happen.

Is it a philosophical/political/ethical objection about a quasi-public body creating, gratis, a significant research database ? Then, why inhabit forum such as this.

Is it about profiteering ? Well, I'd really rather have this resource than not, everything costs and if it's a "public body and should be financed as such" issue then vote with one's feet.

Sunny side up, eh ?

Tim

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stiletto_33853

Hi Tim,

Don't be saddened, as I said I am a fan but want to see the "User agreement" or the nitty gritty that is not addressed in the FAQ's.

Why inhabit such a forum such as this, simple really, a burning passion for this period in history, the help I have received in the years gone by from members of this forum has been of great help, similarly the help I have been able to give others I hope has been similarly received by those I have helped!!, the key is I suppose the years that one has been on this forum. Posting of information, where the information can be "pirated" made without thought to this aspect in the willingness to help others as I have been helped. And, I may add a long long time before the IWM came out with this idea. No, I am not a fan of yet another paysite, at least the dreaded "A" and others had to pay for the information before launching their paysites and had not been given everything gratis but expect people to pay.

So, yes I do want to know the details, fully!! before committing myself, is that too much to ask???

"Gratis, a significant research database" but we will wait and see how significant this will be given that access to areas will be chargeable, one presumes from the organisations mentioned before that have given their time freely. This is the commercial aspect, yet another pay site??? with material that has been given freely??

Please do not get the wrong idea from this, I am a fan, but, I am afraid that I will wait to see the "User agreement" and the enclosed details before I make the decision to participate or not, I personally do not think that is too much to ask.

Andy

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