War Diaries Talk

Australian WW1 diaries

  • Stork by Stork

    Before I discovered OWD I found an similar Australian site and edited several diaries, then forgot about it until I stumbled on it yesterday by accident. The site is here http://www.virtualvolunteering.com.au/volunteer/collections/show/23 The 4 volumes by Sir Joseph John Talbot Hobbs are best- he writes in first person and puts in far more detail than these OWD diaries have. If you want you can edit and make changes, or you can just read them.

    Question for OWD personnel: note how this Australian site asks volunteers to transcribe the diaries word-for-word. Why doesn't OWD do that, in addition to tagging the diaries? Only one person has to type out each diary, other volunteers then need only read what that first person typed out and make corrections where necessary.That would make your diaries readable by anyone in the future who wants to read them exactly as they were written during the war.


  • cyngast by cyngast moderator

    This looks like an interesting project. I explored the site a bit and saw there are other types of transcription projects underway as well, such as the electoral rolls. However, it looks like the diaries are all personal records,while our diaries are official Army documents. There were rules for keeping the unit diaries that kept personal experiences to a minimum. The only ones I've seen written in first person are from field ambulances, sanitation sections, veterinary sections, and occasionally divisional trains.

    Whether or not an online project asks volunteers to transcribe or simply tag information, as we do, depends on the purposes behind the project. In the case of OWD, the intent is to make the types of information we tag more accessible to researchers through a database. In particular, we want to provide access to the names of the men who served for people who may researching their family histories or have another interest in information about particular individuals or their units.

    Rob may be able to shed some further light on why the project is set up as it is, or correct me if I've got it wrong.


  • ral104 by ral104 moderator, scientist

    Cynthia's right. In our case, tagging the diaries to produce a structured data set which can serve a number of purposes, including building up timelines and serving as an index, was preferable to a transcription project, which although worth doing, is far less versatile as a research tool. The digitised diary pages are available to download through the National Archives, so anybody who wants to read them can do so. However, the tags we're placing will also make it easier for them to find exactly what they're looking for.