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charlie962

Lives of the First World War -subscription Site closing

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petwes

I have been using Lives for a while now and at the risk of attracting the stream of bile the letters "IWM" attract from certain people on this forum my experience is generally positive.

When it was launched I must admit linking records and sources was not exactly easy with the need to prove attribution at times irksome; the site admins responded to the large number of criticisms and if anything the pendulum swung too far in the opposite discretion (attach a record and you can add any random facts to it). 

Generally I have uploaded only a limited amount of personal information to men on the site. However when I research a person I try and attach as many relevant records found from the FMP online archives as I can find to aid future researchers. 

Remembering is also important. 

By building communities I hope to create a permanent record of men who served together from similar locations; the same battery; or Battalion for example; again to help future generations if the site is preserved in some way. 

I have read comments from people who protest that they possess far more comprehensive collections of records and information on their own personal computers so why should they share their work with the larger population, instead  jealously guarding it until they get round to publishing their great opus to grand public acclaim!  How much of this years of work will be preserved?  What is the point of a private collection of facts if it remains locked away and hidden until the inevitable happens and it is gone forever? 

Like many I wish that some features had been improved, mainly the ability to organise communities in a logical manner, at a minimum at least in an alphabetical order.  Perhaps if enough of us get off our bottoms and push for these things we might see some improvements and the site developing into what it has the potential to be.

Peter

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voltaire60
On 3/28/2018 at 00:08, stiletto_33853 said:

The saying hitting your head against a brick wall comes to mind, and are you from this planet, sigh, oh well that is another matter.

 

   Andy-always remember what the IWM building was used for before the Great War- a lunatic asylum. Bear that in mind and everything to do with IWM becomes reassuringly understandable. 

     A pity that what should have been THE pre-eminent Great War project to harness the enthusiasms and interests of the Great War centennial years  has simply been a colossal failure- a back-door policy of trying to create an enduring pay site(=income source) for IWM on the back of people investing time and resources (such as family pics.) for nowt and then being expected to pay for it over again was pushing things a bit far.  So it will be effectively binned.  Plenty of work out there that could have gone  on the site in due course  but short-term greed and colossal mismanagement have prevailed. Trying to use the public's own materials and labours to run a pay site  -well, the pigs refused to be driven to market.

   

 

    Peter-Thank you for an interesting post. I would "fess-up" to being one whose ire generally gets tweaked when the initials IWM  hove into view. I am glad that your experience of "Lives" has been a positive one- I would fully expect that it would be.   The project itself was not/is not misconceived-though,perhaps, it took off more than it could chew by hoping that all who served could be dealt with on one site- Not  a forlorn hope but ambitious a little. No matter how much has been put on, it still seems a drop in the ocean.

    My grump with IWM is that this should be an ongoing project- Much of the stuff done by enthusiasts for the Great War centennial years is very productive- just look at the requests for info and the information coming into GWF every day for one -which shows just how much is out there. Much has taken nearly all the centennial years to do-This would seem the optimum time to ensure that it should continue and be built on year on year. Much of the good work done so far hither and thither is likely to disappear as folk move away from the Great War, pass on (either physically or to other interests) and there is a real prospect that their work will disappear. This is EXACTLY the time that the original concept should be continued at least for a few more years- It should be providing the home to all sorts of information,memories and documentts that have come along or emerged in the centennial years.

     My grievance is that the pay-site arrangement looked a dead duck from the start- and I was certainly not the only one  miffed that an institution should  use the goodwill and efforts of other, freely given(and there is a lot of it out there) and then seek to commercialise it. Yes, it has to be paid for- indeed,should be paid for- but it should not cease with the centennial of the Armistice.

     I hope there is still a chance that not only will the site will be kept and maintained (which seems likely) but also that new materials will come on to it across time. Given the cost of just "care and maintenance", then the extra to allow the beast to accrete slowly but surely should be campaigned for. It should, at least, provide a safeguard for preserving efforts from elsewhere  that might otherwise be lost.

    Let us hope that there is some long-term sense of "heritage" at IWM- not just a cash-flow forecast to the next board meeting. Yes, times are tough but  neutering a project that always looked as if it was a long-term matter anyway seems to be administrative vandalsim

 

 

Edited by voltaire60

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charlie962
On 29/03/2018 at 16:28, David_Underdown said:

Operation War Diary is still ticking along, working its way through the diaries.

David,

I wonder if you have a view on the state of play on this project, please? With the imminent freezing of LivesoftheFirstWorldWar which was always closely linked  I am concerned that this might stall the WD project completely?

Operation War Diary was limited to Western Front but was intended to make the data transcribed freely available. By now there must be a considerable database of names that , for all its possible imperfections, would be invaluable to those searching for men with no surviving Service Record. Is there any prospect of early access to this database would you know ?

Grateful for any update.

Charlie

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David_Underdown

There's no direct lnik between Lives and OWD.  A colleague has been working on a simple interface for name searches ut I don't know exactly what the state of play is.  In general reconciling the taggging by different volunteers has proved more complex than anticipated.  There is still a dedicated group of volunteers working through the diaries though (all these types of projects tend to end up with a really dedicated group doing virtually all the work).

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Open Bolt

One would suppose an unreconciled list would be better than none, and gratefully received. I suspect most are used to a certain amount of ...sifting. 

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charlie962

David , Thanks for responding and I appreciate it is not your brief. But perhaps you know to whom I should be adressing this request (the if and when for access to the database of names) ?

 

2 hours ago, David_Underdown said:

There's no direct lnik between Lives and OWD.

                               OperationWarDiary.JPG.6ba19dc1e2664c2fcf520bb98a06bdea.JPG

 

2 hours ago, Open Bolt said:

an unreconciled list would be better than none,

 I would agree wholeheartedly. In its imperfect state it would still be terribly useful.  We already live with the extraordinary indexing of Ancestry. And if you've tried using the ICRC PoW cards...!!  But infinitely better than nothing.

 

Charlie

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Keith_history_buff
17 minutes ago, charlie962 said:

David , Thanks for responding and I appreciate it is not your brief. But perhaps you know to whom I should be adressing this request (the if and when for access to the database of names) ?

 

                               OperationWarDiary.JPG.6ba19dc1e2664c2fcf520bb98a06bdea.JPG

 

 I would agree wholeheartedly. In its imperfect state it would still be terribly useful.  We already live with the extraordinary indexing of Ancestry. And if you've tried using the ICRC PoW cards...!!  But infinitely better than nothing.

 

Charlie

How interesting. I am unaware of any relationship between Operation War Diary and Lives of the First World War. 

As of right now, if you were populating, say, a word processed document, with the transcript of a diary and it referred to the death of Lieutenant John Homfray, there would be merit in the insertion of a hyperlink, with "Lieutenant Homfray" as the text, and the URL for the entry on LOTFWW. The one fly in the ointment is when LOTFWW disappears. If there is a way of redirecting the links to whatever "permanent digital memorial" takes its place? This presupposes that will there be an individual web page for each LOTFWW entry? (Given that 89% of participants survived, a link to LOTFWW is a better idea than to CWGC which fully covers the fatalities.)

Unfortunately, there are a lot of standalone projects for the Centenary. I was involved in a "collaboration" a while ago. Unfortunately, the situation was a standoff between two projects with similar objectives, both with scant resources. There was a belief that the other project would "surrender" its resources to the other. Whilst there was scope for improvement, both project managers did not take well to ideas that were "not invented here".

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charlie962
6 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

The one fly in the ointment is when LOTFWW disappears.

It doesn't strictly disappear. As I understand it it is frozen. So I would have thought a link from OWD to LOTFWW would still work; but you could not create a new link the other way after March 2019.

Charlie

 

Edited by charlie962

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charlie962
8 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

Unfortunately, there are a lot of standalone projects for the Centenary. I was involved in a "collaboration" a while ago. Unfortunately, the situation was a standoff between two projects with similar objectives, both with scant resources. There was a belief that the other project would "surrender" its resources to the other. Whilst there was scope for improvement, both project managers did not take well to ideas that were "not invented here".

Concern about this loss of hard found data has been discussed elsewhere for example here where Voltaire highlighted the concern.

 

Charlie

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Keith_history_buff
8 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

 The one fly in the ointment is when LOTFWW disappears. If there is a way of redirecting the links to whatever "permanent digital memorial" takes its place? This presupposes that will there [will] be an individual web page for each LOTFWW entry? (Given that 89% of participants survived, a link to LOTFWW is a better idea than to CWGC which fully covers the fatalities.)

 

Hi Charlie, as per the subsequent paragraph, it would be great to think that LOTFWW and Operation War Diary are in contact, and can "re-point" any links from LOTFWW (where data sat up to March 2019) to PDM (where the static data from LOTFWW will be ported to in 2019). If both parties are performing an impersonation of Gollum and "my precious", and not wishing to entertain any ideas of interconnectivity, then this is not ideal.

 

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Keith_history_buff
6 minutes ago, charlie962 said:

Concern about this loss of hard found data has been discussed elsewhere for example here where Voltaire highlighted the concern.

 

Charlie

There are too many people that have contributed for IWM to simply walk away from this. The data will be there, but the concern is just how accessible will it be. The data has the potential to be an Aladdin's cave, but if the data cannot be extracted, nor can it be searched for - which is the current state of play - then it will be disappointing.

The search facility is abysmal on LOTFWW - as it's an operational database, and dynamic, the ability to get data inputted takes precedence over searches, in terms of functionality. I can live with this during the data population stage of the project. When the data is static, it would be hoped that searching facilities on PDW would be better than the status quo.

One interesting point - the big failure with LOTFWW was that no data cleaning was being done, and to fudge the numbers, they loaded half a million gallantry MICs. Although Voltaire thinks that IWM bit off more than they can chew by listing everyone, it is telling that this large conglomerate made this mess, yet the one man band of British Army Ancestors does appear to have successfully eliminated the many WW1 British Army duplicates in their database, and further enhanced it with additions from the WO 363/364 records to boot. An army of incompetents has had rings run around it by one proficient and targeted project manager, Paul Nixon.

How long have you been using LOTFWW, Charlie?

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charlie962
4 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

one proficient and targeted project manager,

Said proficient man will have had the advantage of being able to speak direct to colleagues at FMP (LOTFWW partner) but clearly learnt from the mistakes of others and has created some excellent research resources.

6 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

How long have you been using LOTFWW, Charlie?

Guessing at least 2 years but signed up again recently to create some communities, an idea that is not replicated elsewhere.

Charlie

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David_Underdown

 

15 hours ago, charlie962 said:

David , Thanks for responding and I appreciate it is not your brief. But perhaps you know to whom I should be adressing this request (the if and when for access to the database of names) ?

 

                               OperationWarDiary.JPG.6ba19dc1e2664c2fcf520bb98a06bdea.JPG

 

 I would agree wholeheartedly. In its imperfect state it would still be terribly useful.  We already live with the extraordinary indexing of Ancestry. And if you've tried using the ICRC PoW cards...!!  But infinitely better than nothing.

 

Charlie

 

17 hours ago, Open Bolt said:

One would suppose an unreconciled list would be better than none, and gratefully received. I suspect most are used to a certain amount of ...sifting. 

 

 

I didn't mean just the names so far as reconciliation is concerned, but the tagging of location etc that is also part of the project.  I should probably have said no direct dependency, rather than no link, on reflection.  I know some of the OWD volunteers have been cross checking with Lives to help with name transcription.  Long term data sets from both should be available an so it will be possible to link that way.  There was an early cut of data here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxfXwWCjrmUMamZ5RTVyQVpXcWM but it hasn't been updated since July 2016 so a lot more will have been transcribed since then.

 

The Lives data is already being used eg https://astreetnearyou.org/ draws on it to show addresses linked to individuals.  Currently only really using the imported CWGC data, but I understand the developer's intention is to extend that to draw on additional addresses within the Lives data itself.

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charlie962
3 hours ago, David_Underdown said:

There was an early cut of data here

Thanks for that link that I was unaware of. I shall have a look. I presume this was made available by OWD ? The obvious question is when might an udate appear ?

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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David_Underdown

More a TNA colleague than OWD (ie zooniverse).  He's still working on the project, but it's not the only thing he works on.  I know he'd hoped to get something up (experimental name search) by 11 November but he wasn't able to in the end.

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charlie962

I look forward to the update. Thanks

Charlie

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Harper
Over the past 10 years I have researched, or helped others research, over 200 men and women. I think that I have on obligation to remember and honour these men and women by preserving and sharing the fruits of our research.
 
From what I have seen, Lives of The First World War is one of the best way to do this on a long term basis and to the widest audience. Yes the site is not perfect, and can be very frustrating at times. I also don’t want to subscribe to get access to records that I have already located.
 
However rather than moan and whine about the shortcomings of the IWM and the site, I am working to improve as many Life Stories of “my” men and women before the site is frozen in March. I want each of these people to be more than just a MIC and/or CWGC record. I won’t be able to match the quality of some of the well researched profiles, but I’ll do my best in the time available.
 
I would encourage all GWF members to improve the profiles of the men and women they have researched, and thereby allow others to learn about their lives. If we each do 10 profiles, think how much better it would be.  Share your knowledge - don’t be precious about it.
Thanks for reading my rant.
Harper

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voltaire60
8 minutes ago, Harper said:
Thanks for reading my rant.
Harper

 

   Not a rant- decent way of doing things. Good luck  :wub:

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charlie962
On 20/12/2018 at 22:20, Harper said:

Share your knowledge - don’t be precious about it.

Something that the members of this forum have been so good at -sharing their knowledge. I fully agree that LOTFWW is worth a big effort for the next 3 months.

 

Just a reminder that one of the quickest ways to draw attention to the common experiences of a group of men is to create a Community on LOTFWW and add them all to this. The detailed flogging through for other records can be done subsequently.  This is what I did for example for the crew of HMY Zaida and I am in the process of doing for the different units that were captured when the Garrison of Kut el Amara surrendered. This sort of information does not seem to be readily easily available anywhere else apart from Rolls of varying accuracy held by some Infantry units. If sharing this knowledge means that the terrible suffering of these men is remembered a bit more often (and that is often through the medal collecting fraternity) than that cannot be other than 'a good thing'.  

 

There are many sites marking those who died but LOTFWW is presumably the only one that tries to mark also those who survived, sometimes without difficulty but more often than not with a good deal of suffering that should not be forgotten.

 

....only another 2,000 or so to verify and add, some three months to do it, so 10 a day 20 a day should do it- ok feasible !

 

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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Keith_history_buff

This doesn't change anything that has been in the public domain since 2013, but it appears to have been updated fairly recently:

 

What is the future of Lives of the First World War?

During the centenary period, Lives of the First World War will be free to contribute to and browse. In June 2019 we will launch the permanent digital memorial on iwm.org.uk, which will be free to access and search. To allow the Lives of the First World War team time to process the data before it moves to IWM, the website will be closed to further contributions from 12.01am on Tuesday 19 March 2019

 

https://support.livesofthefirstworldwar.org/knowledgebase/articles/321909-what-is-the-future-of-lives-of-the-first-world-war

 

Is Lives of the First World War finished?

During the Centenary, we need your help to connect evidence from lots of sources and add facts to build rich, full Life Stories for as many individuals as possible. There are currently over 7.6 million Life Stories, with many more yet to be created based on this criteria. Please submit your suggestions for new Life Stories here

Lives of the First World War will remain live and active, until 12.01am on Tuesday 19 March 2019, when IWM will become the custodian of the millions of incredible public contributions that have been made over the past 5 years. We will no longer accept contributions to the project after this date, as we create a permanent digital memorial which will always remain free and accessible - this will help to shape our understanding of the First World War both now and in the future.

 

https://support.livesofthefirstworldwar.org/knowledgebase/articles/316837-is-lives-of-the-first-world-war-finished

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charlie962

thanks

Charlie

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Keith_history_buff

I have been able to squeeze some information from the IWM on this, by means of a FoI request. The questions that I asked are reproduced on the following thread. As well as some verbal answers,IWM also provided two tender documents, a project risk assessment document, and most importantly a project charter.
 

 

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2ndCMR
On 26/03/2018 at 06:33, Guest said:

You do the work then have to pay to see it?

 

Mike

 

So basically it was a way for FMP to get a ton a free data and for the IWM to do a timely "feel-good" exercise, but not intended to do anything much except provide subscription revenue after the bulk of the public interest in the Great War has faded.

 

Why am I not surprised?    At least the Canadian Great War Project met a better fate.

Edited by 2ndCMR

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charlie962
6 hours ago, 2ndCMR said:

So basically it was a way for FMP to get a ton a free data and for the IWM to do a timely "feel-good" exercise, but not intended to do anything much except provide subscription revenue after the bulk of the public interest in the Great War has faded.

 

Why am I not surprised?

They probably thought they might get a lot more out of it without having to put in any more effort. I agree - a disgrace compared to Canadian, Australian etc efforts. But that culture in UK persists with limiting access to IWM records and charging large sums for copies of photos etc;

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Matlock1418

Hi everyone,

 

Let's try and remain a bit more positive than seems at present.

 

The situation as currently, 18 Nov. 2019, certainly seems very much less than all LOTFWW contributors had hoped for.

And likewise very much less than future PDM enquirers might desire/need

 

I have just today spoken with a source at IWM, [just/as I was typing my post/ongoing as this thread woke up again] and they say that the LOTFWW project team is running down until the end of 2019 when the work on the LOTFWW/PDM will be essentially fully frozen [except for very specific 'take down requests' through their FAQ]

 

What was suggested was the all feedback and should be urgently focused through contact@iwm.org.uk 

[I might also suggest that they earlier suggested the Form on their FAQ so that might be an alternative too - I don't know if it is any more direct or reactive]

 

What I might hope for most is that there will be:

  • an easy and intelligible means of downloading all the data from the database for an individual or individuals such as a Community which is savable to my computer / printable such as might achieved by a single/very few clicks on a single button/few buttons [certainly not the current 'vomit' provided by the CSV button or by having to open up all fields and do a swipe and copy/paste exercise.

What we all really require is a simple download system - of all the data we have imputted [not just an IWM controlled and edited selection]

 

So please get your constructive feedback, thoughts and requirements passed to IWM - ASAP.

In hope ...

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