The virtual exhibition En guerre: French illustrators and World War I has been created in 2014 by the University of Chicago Library. The exhibition looks at some major aspects of the First World War, such as the Allied powers and the Centrals, but also at the home front and children. The images show book covers, images from illustrated books, postcards and posters. There is a printed catalogue for the original exhibition.
The digital project La Grande Collecte [The Great Collect] was an initiative in 2013 and 2014 launched by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Archives de France and the Mission Centenaire 1914-1918. In this crowdsourcing project the aim was inviting the general public to bring sources from their private collections to the regional archives in order to digitize and publish them on a separate online platform. You can use the free text search field to search the results at will, use an advanced search mode (Recherche avancée) or filter them by the type of document (official publications, correspondance, diaries, photographs and drawings). In its present state this digital collections contains for these categories only a few dozen examples; there are some 130 photographs. The collection can only be accessed in French.
The digital collection Letters of 1916: A Year in the Life has been created by Maynooth University. The aim of this project is to collect letters and postcards documenting the year 1916 – more exactly from November 1915 to Oxctober 1916 – in all its dimensions, not only the Easter Rising and the Great War, but also daily life and business. Not only cultural institutions contribute to this collections. Individuals can give letters to be digitized or transcribe letters. At the start there were already some 2,200 letters. The letters can be searched freely or browsed for particular themes and months.
The digital collection World War I Postcards from the Bowman Gray Collection has been created by the library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The collection contains some 6,400 postcards from the main belligerent countries (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Russia and Italy), but also from other countries. The sheer number of postcards in this collection is equivalent to the number of interesting subjects, for example cavalry or children. Some commercial series, too, are completely present. You can browse the collection in its entirety (530 records with often multiple items), choose among the subjects, names and places, or use the free text search. The general introduction to this collection gives also a succinct bibliography on the subject of First World War postcards.
The Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (BNCF) brings to the Italian digital platform Internet Culturale five digital collections concerning the First World War, Collezioni della Prima Guerra Mondiale, which would merit accessibility at a separate subdomain of the BNCF:
– Libri: in this collection with some 2,400 books you can find works on a variety of subjects, ranging from biographies, military treatises and tracts about health and medicine to sociological studies, literature and legislation.
– Periodici: in this collection with nearly 900 items you will find journals and magazines, both general publications and special journals for subjects such as economy, society, finance and industry. There are also digitized trench journals, official bulletins and war diaries.
– Iconografia: in this small section with just 150 items you can find materials such as postcards, posters and manifests, illustrations and cartoons. Some illustrations show the life of Italian prisoners of war in Austria.
– Carte geografiche: this section contains 70 maps, most of them created by geographical institutes. The maps show in particular the regions on the border with the Habsburg Empire. The maps from 1919 show the new border with Austria.
– Spartiti musicali: in this section with some 300 items you can find all kinds of musical scores. There are military marches, festive hymns and popular songs, works for choir and songs for children.
The digital collection Prisoners of the First World War has been created by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This collection contains digitized archival records about some 10 million prisoners of war during the First World War, mainly in Europe, but also in Russia, the Near East, India and Japan. The belligerent countries sent lists of prisoners to the ICRC. These lists were organized in alphabetical indexes which have been digitized for this project. You can search here individual persons, but also look at information about the internment camps, in particular from official inspection reports, browse postcards of the ICRC concerning the camps, and read letters about prisoners sent to the ICRC. Among the examples of information about prisoners is the archival record for captain Charles de Gaulle. The collection is accessible in English and French.
The virtual exhibition DNB – 100 Jahre Erster Weltkrieg [100 years First World War] has been created by the Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig, nowadays part of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. In 1914 the Deutsche Bücherei started collecting items for a Weltkriegssamlung. The virtual exhibition has been created for the centenary of the First World War. A selection of items from a wide variety of resources has been catalogued anew and partially digitized. By clicking on the menu you can choose item concerning a number of themes, such as Krieg sammeln (collecting the war), Krieg Ausstellen (showing the war), Medienwelt (the world of the media, with a wide variety in formats), Kriegsalltag (daily life during the war), propaganda and persons. You can also select some thirty themes from an alphabetical overview (A-Z). The Zeitstrahl (“time ray”) allows you to search on a time-table for events during a particular year. The virtual exhibition can only be accessed in German.
During the First World War more libraries in Germany and Austria have created Kriegssammlungen (War collections). So far only a few collections have been digitized. More information about them is given at Kriegssamlungen in Deutschland 1914-1918; this website has been included and described here, too.