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Brian Curragh

IWM Lives of the Great War Project - reservations

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Tom Lang

Tom,

Like you I have been a police officer (for 25 years in Australia), the last few as a crime scene analyst, and we've no doubt seen similar amounts of the worst the world has to offer and done things we'd much rather forget. But I don't think that entitles us to claim a corner on the cynicism market outside of work. I consider myself a realist but certainly have no intention of allowing myself to worry about the worst possible scenario of everything that pops up - that's not my idea of enjoying life!!

I prefer to initially take things at face value (albeit a bit cautiously at times) and make my own judgements as things develop. I don't see the point of being unnecessarily critical or negative about something before it even gets started unless there's a blatant flaw to the whole idea.

The people from the LGWP are here on this forum to better understand how this project might work to everyone's advantage. Let's give them the benefit of our ideas and combined wealth of knowledge in a positive way to try and bring about a worthwhile result.

Cheers,

Tim L.

Tom

You say time will tell if this project is a success. Exactly. Why don't you just wait for more information?

Roger

Brian Curragh wrote:

"An interesting announcement of what should be a worthwhile project. I do have a few reservations however.

(1) Accuracy

... how can you possibly police the accuracy of the data that has been uploaded?

(2) Duplication

How do you stop the same soldier's record being created by multiple researchers – who may have come up with different stories (accurate or otherwise)?

(3) Commerciality

brightsolid will not be getting involved in this exercise for non-commercial reasons. This project will inevitably be monetarised at some point – otherwise brightsolid/Epson would not be involved.

How is this going to manifest itself?

What will happen to the copyright of the research that will be uploaded?

Could you end up getting charged to access information you may have uploaded yourself?

Recent concerns about the ownership of content uploaded to web-based file storage systems equally apply here.

I support the ethos behind the exercise but am extremely dubious as to its eventual worth.

Regards

Brian"

The title of this thread is "IWM Lives of the Great War Project - reservations", so I can assume that Brian was asking for anyone's "reservations".

My comments were pointed towards the "(3) Commerciality" in Brian's initial post in which he asks 3 pertinent questions.

I also attempted to respond to Luke's response to my 'fiddle' remark.

In a subsequent career, I graduated with a B.Sc. in Computer Science, then an M.Sc. in Computer Science.

I have worked on major IT projects around the world.

I have seen the best and the worst of them.

Companies like BrightSolid are solely in it for the money - period.

So as a 'qualified and trained' cynic and IT professional (now retired), I want to put my 2p in the jar with Brian's and everyone else's questions, suspicions and "reservations".

Kindest regards,

Tom.

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Tom Lang

I've just been doing some more reading on this project on the IWM website.

On the 'Supporters' page, ( http://www.livesofth.../supporters.php ), I see that brightsold ( http://www.brightsolid.com/ ) is not listed as a 'Supporter'. Hmmm...

I also see that The National Archives is mentioned as a Supporter, but not ScotlandsPeople ( http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ ). Yet brightsold are the 'machine' behind ScotlandsPeople.

There is no mention of the IWM's and brightsolid's project on the ScotlandsPeople website.

Are we to assume (at this time) that ScotlandsPeople is not a 'Supporter'?

The entry for TNA is described as "...the government's national archive for England, Wales and the United Kingdom...".

Last time I looked the United Kindom is 'Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. Since 'Great Britain' includes Scotland, Wales and England, is it not repetitive to say "England and Wales" twice?

If ScotlandsPeople and brightsold handle the Scottish records, why is Northern Ireland not mentioned as part of the United Kingdom?

If brightsolid are already in league with ScotlandsPeople, does that mean that 'double payments' are being charged when accessing Scottish records via the IWM project?

There is no mention of the IWM's and brightsolid's project on the ScotlandsPeople website.

On brightsolid's website they have a link to the project on the IWM website - but not vice versa?

On brightsolid's 'Affiliates' page ( http://www.brightsol...ing/affiliates/ ) they report 30% - 35% commission on all orders; earn up to £27 - £28 per transaction; high conversion rates between 2% and 5%, and 5% and 8%; etc.

Enquiring minds want to know... (from 'Private Eye' ( http://www.private-eye.co.uk/ ) )

Kindest regards,

Tom Lang.

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keithmroberts

Tom

You are in danger of going off the rails here.

Brightsolid are described in the press release as working in partnership with the IWM.

The National Archives is a public institution. Scotland's People is a private company owned by Brightsolid.

This is how the National Archives explain themselves - I am sure you will find all that you want to know about them somewhere on their website .http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/

There are no great mysteries here, and I'm quite clear that there is nothing to hide. The IWM like the National Archives is a major British institution with proper governance.

It will have drawn up an agreement/contract with Brightsolid, most of the detail of which will be presently regarded as confidential, but which will be open to proper audit and scrutiny.

The issues that remain - and the paper linked to by Mike in post 70 addresses the question of which material will be behind paywalls, are how individual's uploaded information will be used, and protected from commercial exploitation.

This is a major and welcome project, welcomed by government, other major non-commercial institutions, and by a great many of us. The fine detail is probably still being refined, and, as has been made clear many times, participation will be voluntary.

Please chill out - we may as individuals end up liking or disliking the final version of the project, but it promises something that so many of us welcome, and the fact that it is being led by the IWM and strongly supported by the National Archives is in fact what gives it credibility.. There are no hidden conspiracies here.

Keith

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David_Underdown

The point of the description "Wales, England and the United Kingdom" is to do with devolution. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own national archives (PRONI and NRS). Wales, although it has a devolved government, does not have a separate archives so relevant papers are still deposited at Kew, while those of the Scottish and Northern Irish governments go to PRONI and NRS. Papers affecting England only also go to Kew, as do papers related to the government of the United Kingdom as a whole.

As I've said before in this thread, BrightSolid is both a publisher (the capacity in which it acts for Scotland's People, and as Licensed Internet Associate for the 1911 census of England and Wales), and a simple web host in which capacity it acts for a large number of firms. It seems to me that it is far more in the second capacity that it is acting in this project, albeit informed by its publishing experience, it has familiarity with the types of records which are to be linked together.

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Tom Lang

Tom

You are in danger of going off the rails here.

Brightsolid are described in the press release as working in partnership with the IWM.

The National Archives is a public institution. Scotland's People is a private company owned by Brightsolid.

This is how the National Archives explain themselves - I am sure you will find all that you want to know about them somewhere on their website .http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/

There are no great mysteries here, and I'm quite clear that there is nothing to hide. The IWM like the National Archives is a major British institution with proper governance.

It will have drawn up an agreement/contract with Brightsolid, most of the detail of which will be presently regarded as confidential, but which will be open to proper audit and scrutiny.

The issues that remain - and the paper linked to by Mike in post 70 addresses the question of which material will be behind paywalls, are how individual's uploaded information will be used, and protected from commercial exploitation.

This is a major and welcome project, welcomed by government, other major non-commercial institutions, and by a great many of us. The fine detail is probably still being refined, and, as has been made clear many times, participation will be voluntary.

Please chill out - we may as individuals end up liking or disliking the final version of the project, but it promises something that so many of us welcome, and the fact that it is being led by the IWM and strongly supported by the National Archives is in fact what gives it credibility.. There are no hidden conspiracies here.

Keith

Keith,

The ScotlandsPeople website is NOT "a private company owned by Brightsolid".

It is www dot scotlandspeople dot GOV dot UK.

It is run by the Scottish Records Office at Register House, Edinburgh. Please check the link provided.

The company brightsolid are the profit-driven company who currently have a contract from The Scottish Records Office to process record requests on the ScotlandsPeople website.

Chilling out may be your answer to doing nothing, but Brian, who started the thread, made his 'reservations' known.

I am currently and presently expressing my reservations.

Those of us who are asking the awkward questions are just as entitled to express those concerns, as those who advocate for the project.

I haven't seen anyone object to the project so far.

I am not against it either, but very concerned for the outcome.

I thought I was entitled to express my views and opinions, but when you only say that I should chill out, this does not add to the discussion.

My opinions are mine and if they are unreasonable, then please go ahead and knock them down for what they are.

But if your only response is to tell me that I'm "... in danger of going off the rails" or to "Please chill out..." then I think you are not keeping an open mind.

This project is a huge undertaking, otherwise a company like brightsolid would not want to know about it - but they do - because they see profit. They are not a charity.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

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Tom Lang

The point of the description "Wales, England and the United Kingdom" is to do with devolution. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own national archives (PRONI and NRS). Wales, although it has a devolved government, does not have a separate archives so relevant papers are still deposited at Kew, while those of the Scottish and Northern Irish governments go to PRONI and NRS. Papers affecting England only also go to Kew, as do papers related to the government of the United Kingdom as a whole.

As I've said before in this thread, BrightSolid is both a publisher (the capacity in which it acts for Scotland's People, and as Licensed Internet Associate for the 1911 census of England and Wales), and a simple web host in which capacity it acts for a large number of firms. It seems to me that it is far more in the second capacity that it is acting in this project, albeit informed by its publishing experience, it has familiarity with the types of records which are to be linked together.

David,

I understand what you are saying. But if they can't get the description right, how will they get the details right (see Brian's reservation on "Accuracy").

There were many Irish regiments who fought in WW1, not just Northern Ireland.

The Ancestry website currently has the contract with the TNA for Military Records, etc.

Does this project mean that brightsolid are going to get in on the act, or will the current contract with Ancestry come to an end?

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

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Guest

Bright Solid are very good at making a profit Click, not that I am against that.

Mike

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dycer

Tim, I'm pretty sure Luke's motives are not being questioned?

Mike

Mike,

I'm a proud but exiled to England through work and marriage, Scot who by accident of birth, lost two Uncles during WW1 and therefore have an advantage.or not?

Disadvantage.I inherited a few contemporary photographs which I have added information to,from the Forum e.g incidental details of their Battalion's service during WW1,plus the circumstances one of the Brother's death? e.g.my Father matter of factly told me,per his Brother,that his Brother was sniped in the head,on rising from a trench in 1915 and this is supported by his Obituary.Unfortunately the letter the Brother ,wrote to to his Father, informing of his Son's death,in advance of official notification, and "that he was the first to reach him" does not survive.

Equally whenever my Father visited his Home Town, as a retired Bobby, and met a member of the Battalion,they were still unable to tell him, the circumstances of his older Brother's death, in 1918,apart from "he was wounded and last seen crawling way for attention"..

Advantage.I choose not to be a pseudo Scot and join "Scots websites" but enjoy my occasional visits to Edinburgh which may include a visit, or not, to Register House.

Dates of birth,I know, but would serious research reveal?, as youngsters per my Father, pre-WW1, the Brothers took great pleasure in roping a close's front door knockers together so they all knocked one after another, my Father being the first to run. :)

George

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Tom Lang

Bright Solid are very good at making a profit Click, not that I am against that.

Mike

Mike,

Me neither, though as always, the devil is in the details.

Great link!

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

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Brian Curragh

You are in danger of going off the rails here....Please chill out... There are no hidden conspiracies here.

Keith

Keith

Comments like this are really not helping this debate.

I had my reservations when I started this thread and I still have the same reservations - if anything, comments that brightsolid's other project "Scotland's People" is perceived by its users as being expensive has probably aggravated my concerns.

You are being very naive if you do not understand that (i) brightsolid will only be involved in this to make a profit and (ii) that profit can only come from monetarising the information they get control of through this exercise. The information may well be preserved and promulgated to a wider audience - and that is laudable - but brightsolid's shareholders will expect, quite rightly, a return from their investment - and people like you and I will be the ones that pay it.

Regards

Brian

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tn.drummond

Keith,

The ScotlandsPeople website is NOT "a private company owned by Brightsolid".

It is www dot scotlandspeople dot GOV dot UK.

It is run by the Scottish Records Office at Register House, Edinburgh. Please check the link provided.

The company brightsolid are the profit-driven company who currently have a contract from The Scottish Records Office to process record requests on the ScotlandsPeople website.

Chilling out may be your answer to doing nothing, but Brian, who started the thread, made his 'reservations' known.

I am currently and presently expressing my reservations.

Those of us who are asking the awkward questions are just as entitled to express those concerns, as those who advocate for the project.

I haven't seen anyone object to the project so far.

I am not against it either, but very concerned for the outcome.

I thought I was entitled to express my views and opinions, but when you only say that I should chill out, this does not add to the discussion.

My opinions are mine and if they are unreasonable, then please go ahead and knock them down for what they are.

But if your only response is to tell me that I'm "... in danger of going off the rails" or to "Please chill out..." then I think you are not keeping an open mind.

This project is a huge undertaking, otherwise a company like brightsolid would not want to know about it - but they do - because they see profit. They are not a charity.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

Tom

I am distinctly opposed to both your style of debate and the manner in which you are attempting to build a case against Bright Solid but, as a libertarian, I do agree you have every right to express your opinions. The question I am asking of you is that is this forum really the place to engage in what seems to me a pretty superficial complaint about the position of Bright Solid?

This site is discussing its support of a project by the IWM to mark the WW1 centenary memorial. The responsibility for probity with Bright Solid lies with the IWM and their trustees not this forum. If this thread is moving towards an investigation of Bright Solid then I feel the time has come to move the debate to a more appropriate medium - perhaps you need to transfer your fears to a press website, social media or investigative blog.

I don't believe in gagging or routine censorship but you must remember that the GWF is not an investigative body or a consolidated pressure group. It does not have a constitution that members adhere with and to (nor should it) and I for one think you need to be very careful about overstepping the line of 'reasonable' questioning.

You've cited Private Eye (I've been buying it since 1974 without break) and It seems a more appropriate medium for your fears than a forum dedicated to the furtherance of research into WW1.

One final point. I subscribed to the IWM proposal via discussion on the other 'positive' thread. Frankly, I'm embarrassed by any connection to the views you are expressing as a fellow member of the GWF.

That is my problem - not yours.

Tim

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Tom Lang

Tom

I am distinctly opposed to both your style of debate and the manner in which you are attempting to build a case against Bright Solid but, as a libertarian, I do agree you have every right to express your opinions. The question I am asking of you is that is this forum really the place to engage in what seems to me a pretty superficial complaint about the position of Bright Solid?

This site is discussing its support of a project by the IWM to mark the WW1 centenary memorial. The responsibility for probity with Bright Solid lies with the IWM and their trustees not this forum. If this thread is moving towards an investigation of Bright Solid then I feel the time has come to move the debate to a more appropriate medium - perhaps you need to transfer your fears to a press website, social media or investigative blog.

I don't believe in gagging or routine censorship but you must remember that the GWF is not an investigative body or a consolidated pressure group. It does not have a constitution that members adhere with and to (nor should it) and I for one think you need to be very careful about overstepping the line of 'reasonable' questioning.

You've cited Private Eye (I've been buying it since 1974 without break) and It seems a more appropriate medium for your fears than a forum dedicated to the furtherance of research into WW1.

One final point. I subscribed to the IWM proposal via discussion on the other 'positive' thread. Frankly, I'm embarrassed by any connection to the views you are expressing as a fellow member of the GWF.

That is my problem - not yours.

Tim

Hello Tim,

I didn't know that this was some form of 'charm school', or that there was some style or manner that should be used to respond.

I am not against brightsold's involvement in the project.

You said "This site is discussing its support of a project by the IWM..." and I say that this thread is discussing Brian's "... reservations". Check the title above. So I'll proffer that this is the correct place to discuss those reservations.

My use of a Private Eye quote was intended 'tongue-in-cheek', but the more I use such terms (like 'fiddle') the more they seem to be mis-construed.

Maybe I shouldn't say that brightsolid are 'pulling the wool over your eyes', or they are 'a sheep in wolf's clothing', or 'once bitten, twice shy'. But now I've been and gone and done it.

A proper discussion will always remain healthy as the 'slings and arrows' continue back and forth. There, I've gone and done it again.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

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tn.drummond

Tom

I can't see anyone ever accusing you of membership of a charm school.

Tim

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Tom Lang

Tom

I can't see anyone ever accusing you of membership of a charm school.

Tim

Tim,

Aw shucks, I'm blushing now.

Tom.

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tn.drummond

Tim,

Aw shucks, I'm blushing now.

Tom.

Then I'm glad I've driven you to such shame.

Tim

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Phil Wood

If a website is interesting and attracts a lot of visitors then it will inevitably be attractive to commercial interests. In the short term the IWM will, no doubt, ensure the data gleaned from the public is nicely presented on an advert-free site. Then their funding will run out. The National Inventory of War Memorials site is an example - great start, then stasis.

If the project has been successful it will have a few hundred thousand stories on it by the time the cash runs out - when there will be a big temptation to commercialise it some more to generate the income to keep it growing. Perhaps Brightsolid's involvement from the start will be enough to fund it (assuming IWN get a cut when someone buys something from them via a link in the 'Lives' site).

One worry would be that useful links might be missing owing to conflicting commercial interests - for instance links to medal cards or service records on Ancestry.

The really exciting bit is the new stuff the IWM are talking about making available - is this going to be free or via Brightsolid?

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hazelclark

This discussion is getting a bit silly. While I certainly understand the reservations, and would definitely not like a system of payment such as that used by "Scotland's People", where one has to pay for something that may or may not have relevance for one's research, there will be on going costs for such an archive and a "nominal fee" does not seem unreasonable. If there is no charge at all for any of it, then you will be paying through your taxes so maybe it should, at least to some extent, be "user pay". As far as large contributions from groups or individuals are concerned, perhaps it would be better to wait and see the proposal in its' entirety before getting rickety about it. The IWM is prepared to listen to concerns from this Forum and will not be holding a gun to anyone's head.

From under my desk,

Hazel

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Auimfo

I think the title and tone of the thread was deliberately negative from the outset and designed to promote a worry of the unknown. Why did there have to be a specific 'reservations' thread in the first place? Could not people's concerns have been included amongst the general conversation of the neutral thread? IMHO this thread is typical of the squeaky wheel syndrome created by a negative-minded vocal minority.

It appears to me that most of the concerns voiced here are fortune-telling beliefs. Apparently because Scotland's People aren't included as on the site as a 'supporter', we've uncovered some sinister underhanded scheme :blink: . Talk about a glass-half-empty attitude. Personally, I'm glad I don't think that way.

I can't believe that people have expressed concern that somewhere in the dim, dark, future mists of time, when evil rules the world and pigs fly backwards, the entire site might end up being subscription based and they would have to pay to access their own contribution....................you really expect me to accept that as being a valid worry? Of course you wouldn't! You might have to pay a subscription to see certain information that you 'don't' have but I think it fair to assume that you already have the information you supplied. And if for some reason, you'd lost the lot - just be grateful that there was somewhere that had stored it for you.

These are just my thoughts and opinions, to which I am entitled like everyone else here.

Helmet on and awaiting incoming.

Cheers,

Tim L.

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dycer

Tim,

As I understand it, the IWM deals in WW1 corroborated fact.

I have cited above my Father's recall, of his Brothers, expressed to me 50 years after the end of WW1 when I was a teenager 50 years ago.

His memory may have been playing tricks as may mine. :(

I'm sure it would be easier and cheaper for the 1WM to approach the various repositories e.g.National Archive,Register House(Scotland),Ancestry,Scotland's People,etc to obtain factual information about WW1 servicemen e.g. their dates of birth.

I rather think,however,they are looking for corroborated WW1 information e.g. letters of the time that we individuals stumble across, in our personal research, e.g. Has anyone,on the Forum, through their WW1 research, approached relatives of WW1 servicemen who have in turn unearthed letters,etc of the time hidden in attics?

George

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Brian Curragh

...deliberately negative from the outset and designed to promote a worry of the unknown...IMHO this thread is typical of the squeaky wheel syndrome created by a negative-minded vocal minority....somewhere in the dim, dark, future mists of time, when evil rules the world and pigs fly backwards, the entire site might end up being subscription based and they would have to pay to access their own contribution...

Cheers,

Tim L.

Tim

IMHO this is a nasty, mean-spirited and insulting response to genuine concerns I have in the involvement of commercial organisations in the process of remembrance. You have a perfect right to your views but so do I.

Regards

Brian

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Auimfo

Tim

IMHO this is a nasty, mean-spirited and insulting response to genuine concerns I have in the involvement of commercial organisations in the process of remembrance. You have a perfect right to your views but so do I.

Regards

Brian

No Brian, not nasty or mean spirited at all - simply my opinion of this thread based on what I've seen. The question remains why you had to start a completely separate thread promoting the 'negative' rather than justifiably air your views on the original perfectly neutral thread like everyone else was doing.

I do find it rather ambiguous that you justify your criticisms as 'genuine concerns' but consider mine to be 'nasty and mean-spirited'. Am I not permitted to have 'genuine concerns' about the purpose of this thread and some of the comments made?

I believe your original worries are to a degree understandable (although perhaps a bit hasty). I just don't understand why you had to create an entirely new thread designed to ask for negativity. It doesn't provide for an atmosphere of creativity and only eventually promotes some really wacky conspiracy theories.

The people from LGWP have come specifically to the GWF looking for constructive ideas and thoughtful input. Surely that provides some evidence of their best intentions at this early stage of the project. I believe we should be welcoming them and assisting to make this project the best it can be (including appropriate criticism when necessary) - not pointing fingers, making premature accusations of money-grubbing objectives or looking for underhanded conspiracies around every mis-printed comma as some have done here.

All I'm saying is, let's not jump the gun with what we only imagine 'might' happen before they get a chance to develop the idea. If at any stage you (or others) don't like what they see or don't agree with the way the project is being developed, then don't contribute or participate. It's that simple.

Again, just my opinion.

Cheers,

Tim L.

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Brian Curragh

Tim

I set up the separate thread precisely to provide an area for "thoughtful input" that was separate from the main thread. It did not "promote the negative". It is not "obviously critical" - just questioning the commercial aspects of an otherwise laudable project. It is open to all to post so I can hardly be held responsible for the posts of others.

What I find "mean-spirited" is your allegation that I was "deliberately negative" - how can you know my intentions? Your lack of an apology for this ill-founded comment on my motives is quite sufficient for me.

Brian

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Auimfo

Brian,

If your thread was not meant to be deliberately negative then I do apologise for misunderstanding it's intent although I still stand by my thoughts regarding some of the comments made. But you might understand why any thread using the word 'reservations' in it's title and then proceeding to voice criticism about something is likely to be construed (or misconstrued as the case may be) as promoting negativity about the topic. Perhaps you should have used 'thoughtful input' instead.

Cheers,

Tim L.

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keithmroberts

Steady. There is no problem with having a separate thread. Brian raised his genuine concerns. At present there are some issues that are not completely clear, and I fully understand why there is concern.

The main project will run for the duration of the war, from the FAQ

12) How long will Lives of the First World War be available for?

IWM has made a commitment that Lives of the First World War will be an interactive platform available to the public throughout the four years of the centenary and that the permanent digital memorial will be saved for future generations.

It is quite legitimate to ask how the memorial will be accessed after the four years, and whether that access will remain free. Clarity on that would be good, because at present I don't find it clear.

I personally don't have any issue with there being a subscription for access to IMAGES that are owned by Brightsolid or others. We pay for thiose now if we use FMP, Ancestry or Scotland's People.

Copyright. There are some details, which will emerge in the final conditions that apply to uploaded data. I have no concerns about how it will be managed during the life of the project, I actually think the FAQ sections are pretty good on that. The clarification that will concern many, is how it will be managed after the four years - will it remain free to access after then?

Those are legitimate questions, but its not a case for conspiracy theory, or for us to start doubting motives. The IWM statement is that they intend this to be a permanent digital memorial, and that the project is being funded by them. "Lives of the First World War is funded by IWM and supported by our technology partner, brightsolid". It's quite proper to ask whether the IWM intend to maintain direct control of the database and to fund it after the four years.

I'm sure that the answers will emerge and as others have said - the IWM project team are both watching these topics and contributing to them. That is the evidence that it is not an evil plot. I'm sure that they will be able to provide most of the answers soon.

Preserving Research.

Like quite a few others, my research will never be commercial, and apart from discussions with the relevant local studies library, I'll be pleased to see the results of my efforts preserved after i am unable to do so. I hope to do so in a manner that is free to all, but I would ultimately rather see them in the hands of a commercial enterprise subject to a contract with a major public body like the IWM than see them lost. After all, is that not the position now with access to soldiers records and many others. If the only way I could access them without such a contract, would be to be forever at Kew, then I could not have conducted the research that has fascinated me for several years.

Keith

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Kath

Good points, Keith.

Kath.

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