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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

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The GWF membership has vast amounts of intellectual capital. It struck me that there must be many GWF members who have researched a particular area in some considerable depth and would like to get their work seen by a wider audience. Online publishing allows us to do this at next to zero costs. So I wondered if there are enough people on the Forum who would be interested in getting their work published online in the form of an article in an e-book that consolidates a number of articles with common themes. 

 

The idea would be to create a number of books each with a thematic. Within each book the chaptersor articles are written by different authors - the articles could be of varying length. One possibility is to publish a book on "Researching Individuals in the Great War" with chapters on, say, Personal Records, Researching Officers, Medal Rolls, Gratuities, the SWB, War Diaries, Numbering and Prefixes, Official Histories, Researching the London Gazette and a host of arcane areas that I have not yet thought of. The book would then act as a one-stop shop, written by informed authors/researchers that would be available online at next to zero cost. I understand there are existing publications covering some (but not all) of these aspects, however it is clear to me that the expertise among the membership goes way beyond most published sources. The tricks of researching the London Gazette for example is one area that immediately springs to mind, or how to find information in online archives: beating Ancestry's appalling indexing by using the NAUK index etc or a simple index of the WO files for example or an index of the 1911 Census of Military units.. e-Books are of course searchable documents and can also embed hyperlinks to the source material.  Articles don't have to be the length War and Peace. 

 

The advantage of e-publishing is that mistakes can be corrected and anyone who has bought the book gets the update by simply synchronizing their e-library. Similarly if authors want to add chapters to an existing book, or add new information this can be done in a few hours. This flexibility is useful for ongoing research. 

 

Financials. The concept is 'Not-for-Profit'.  Publishing on Kindle for example costs nothing, however the minimum price one can sell at is US$2.99 which on today's Brexit rebound equates to £2.39. Amazon charges a minute distribution costs per MB (it is pennies) and allows the publisher to take 70% if original material or 35% if public domain work (recycled out-of-copyright material). If for example ten GWF members wrote a chapter each, the revenues (before tax) are less than 24 p each per book. Personally I have no interest in making 24p and would gladly donate the pennies to the British Legion (or whatever charity the authors would agree on if they were all like-minded). Possibly even donate the pennies to GWF. There is a facility to sell books on Amazon at £0.00 for Kindle unlimited subscribers, so in theory it could be 100% altruistic. 

 

It would be a way of harnessing and preserving some considerably detailed research and at the same time provide an outlet for people who have no inclination, time or money to write a whole book or do a Masters at Kings, Birmingham or Wolverhampton. Its readership would not be confined to membership of Associations such as WFA or Gallipoli Association. It would have global reach. At the same time it lowers the barriers to publishing one's work and might provide a permanent legacy and record of one's work long after we are gone. This is just an idea that I would like to kick around. It would require an editor (definitely not me) to set minimum benchmarks and I think would need peer review to ensure the collective would not be publishing rubbish. Quality control would I think be the biggest challenge, so peer review would be critical. 

 

Packaging articles into books with a common theme would be a small challenge but people might like to act as coordinators for a thematic such as 'Researching The Great War' or "1914" or "Gallipoli" or whatever thematic is of interest. There are many GWF members who have done the hard yards on their focus battalions for example and it would be interesting to consolidate, say analysis based on these studies. We are only bound by our imagination on what could be...

 

So, if anyone has any thoughts please speak out. I would be particularly interested in hearing from anyone who would like to write an article on any particular aspect of researching individuals in the Great War; the more arcane the better. I have seen incredible expertise in specific areas such as Gratuities, the London Gazette, numbering, etc and it would be interesting as a pilot to try and consolidate this expertise. 

 

Logistics are easy. Write in Word, save as Pdf. Send to editor (whoever he or she is ). Send edited work to me - times ten articles - and I will get them online in a day. 

 

A long shot. Don't be shy. MG

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MG

 

This sounds like a great idea.  I will keep following this thread with interest to see how it develops. I have researched a couple of local memorials and would like to see this work available for future generations.

 

 Tanks3

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5 minutes ago, tanks3 said:

MG

 

This sounds like a great idea.  I will keep following this thread with interest to see how it develops. I have researched a couple of local memorials and would like to see this work available for future generations.

 

 Tanks3

 

A book simply dedicated to memorials would seem a rather useful way of consolidating a number of research efforts. It would be interesting to hear from the authors (in the article) what they learned from their experience of researching, how they solved seemingly intractable problems or dead-ends etc. 

 

It would need some standardisation in terms of layout but I think it could even inspire people to do more if they knew there was a conduit for their  hard work. 

 

As more are done they can simply be added one at a time.  

 

I hadn't thought of memorials. MG

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Definitely an interesting idea. I have a mass of material regarding a West Yorkshire village, now a suburb of Bradford that could be pulled into shape, and it might even be an option for the current project that I am working on with HLF funding which relates primarily to two memorials, one a rollof honour for the dead, the other a massive street list. 

 

Keith

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There are some real experts on here. MG, Stiletto, Magnumbellum and Grumpy spring quickly to mind (other experts are available)...

 

I'd love to see the results on several themes...

 

Bernard

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5 minutes ago, Bernard_Lewis said:

There are some real experts on here. MG, Stiletto, Magnumbellum and Grumpy spring quickly to mind (other experts are available)...

 

I'd love to see the results on several themes...

 

Bernard

 And many others... Personally I would avoid the term 'expert' as it is a hiding to nothing..... .. I would prefer 'informed'. The real point is that there is some really useful research that would benefit from being consolidated and made available to the public in bite-sized chunks. MG

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