The set of thematic research guides for archival research concerning the First World War is part of the Cendari portal for a collective European digital archival infrastructure. The core of the Cendari portal is the creation of a directory of archives in Europe and their collections. A second service is the creation of archival research guides. In this section you can find sixteen guides concerning the First World War. These guides deal for instance with prisoners of war, the importance of diaries and personal narratives, the role of women, religion, coercion in the armies, medicine and workers’ movements. Poland and Russia are among the countries receiving particular attention. There are also nine similar guides for research on medieval history and (religious) culture.
Thematic research guides for archival research – Cendari
The research guide La Primera Guerra Mundial en los Archivos Estatales [The First World War in the State Archives] has been created by the Spanish Centro de Información Documental de Archivos in cooperation with the Archivo Histórico Nacional (AHN, Madrid), the Archivo General de la Administración (AGA, Alcalá de Henares), the Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica (CDMH, Salamanca) and the Archivo General de Palacio in Madrid, the Spanish royal archives. During the First World War Spain remained a neutral country. The guide opens with a section on the period 1895-1914 during which Spain lost wars in the Philippines and Morocco. The second section looks at Spain’s role during the war as a neutral country, providing for example humanitarian aid. There are sections for events, institutions and journals, and for persons. In the section Fuentes documentales you are guided to selected archival series in four state archives, and there is a bibliography. This research guide can be viewed only in Spanish.
La Primera Guerra Mundial en los Archivos Estatales
The website First World/Great War is an initiative of the Istorijki Arhiv Beograda [Historical Archives of Belgrade]. On this website you find a guide to historical records and archival collections in this city archive. In this guide ou can choose collections, themes and names from dropdown lists. There are articles on several subjects (e.g. economy, schools, health and the judiciary), and there is a timeline, a bibliography and a section with links to other relevant web sources. The image gallery shows you some highlights. You can visit this website in Serbian or English.
First World/Great War
The portal World War I – Library of Congress is a section of the vast website of the Library of Congress. This portal offers easy access to the various digital collections of the Library of Congress concerning the First World War. You can choose the featured collection, pick your favourite from the overview of collections or select one by resource type and format. You can also visit vortual exhibitions. There is a special First World War research guide, a blog and an events calendar, and there is also a section for teachers.
Several of the individual digital collections of the Library of Congress are featured here in separate entries.
World War I – Library of Congress
The virtual exhibition Archives 14-18 en Wallonie has been created by the Belgian National Archives. The website functions as a showcase of and gateway to materials in the Wallon provinces of Belgium. There are nearly 120 items. You can find here examples of letters, photographs, posters, court records and much more. There is a free text search field (Recherche) and you can search using a great variety of tags. You can also browse for individual archives or look for specific years, even up to 1925. The section Plus+ offers a selection of websites and points to a general guide for archival records concerning the First World War and Belgium. This virtual exhibition can only be viewed in French.
Archives 14-18 en Wallonie
The virtual presentation ECPAD: Première guerre mondiale is part of the ECPAD portal, the website of the Établissement de Communication et de Production Audiovisuelle de la Défense in Ivry-sur-Seine, the communication branch of the French defense ministry. At its portal ECPAD presents a selection of videos and photographs from its vast collection of First World War items, some 110,000 photographs (97,000 of them in the series SPA) and 2,000 films (series 14.18) which all have been digitized for the centenary of the Grande Guerre. One can consult the digitized items at the mediathèque in the old fortress Fort d’Ivry or order digitized images. ECPAD offers a very brief overview of its original audivisual collection created between 1915 and 1915, a general overview of materials from private collections concerning the Grande Guerre (PDF), and also succinct overviews of their First World War materials for a number of countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, and a set of fiches for each French département.
The online selection touches upon many themes in a wide variety of resources, among them for example coloured photographs (autochromes, 25 images in the selection, mainly to be found in the AUL series) and some 20,000 stereoscopic images (photographies stéréoscopiques, series D2 and D198), images of Russian soldiers in France, of prisoners of war, of the first American soldiers arriving in 1918, exercising army units, and much more. Only seven stereoscopic images are available online (animated versions).
There are only a few digital collections with French autochromes from the First World War. The main other collection is at the Mediathèque de l ‘Architecture et du Patrimoine, discussed also here. Parts of both collections appear also elsewhere. A third major collection is held at the Musée départemental Albert Kahn in Boulogne-Billancourt. The virtual exhibition of this museum is described here. At Arago-Le Portail de la Photographie you find more about several early techniques for colour photographs.
ECPAD: Première guerre mondiale
The website of the Great War in Africa Association functions as a focus point for scholars researching the British military campaigns in Africa during the First World War. The website covers numerous aspects of these campaigns. The section on sources and literature is useful, as is the page with weblinks. Links to image collections are mentioned on a separate page. The WW1 East Africa Study Pack is a concise research guide for students, with even a selection of digitized documents from the National Archives at Kew.
Great War in Africa Association
The International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam has created on its website a research guide for the First World War. It presents some twenty relevant collections at the IISH. There is a similar guide on the war and peace movements. The IISH has made some twenty online guides to its various collections. The IISH has the largest holdings worldwide for collections documenting the history of socialism and labour movements, and facilitates research on this theme in many countries. The library of the IISH has rich holdings in relevant literature.
Currently the IISH is digitizing many of its famous collections, but other less well known collections are being digitized, too. The IISH provides a list of the collections which will be digitized soon, with digital finding aids. The digital collections of the IISH will increasingly appear at the Social History Portal in cooperation with sister institutes elsewhere in Europe. Items from its digital collections can also be found at Europeana 1914-1918. The website of the IISH can be viewed in English and Dutch.
IISH research guide on the First World War
The portal Kriegssammlungen in Deutschland 1914-1918 is a project at the Badische Landesbibliothek, Karlsruhe, for an online inventory of original German war collections created during the First World War. Albert Buddecke’s 1917 book about 217 German war collections forms the starting point for this project. You can search for any search term using the simple search (Freie Suche) or use the search screen with fixed terms (Indexsuche). The range of the materials in these collections is very wide. As for now only a very limited number of these collections has been digitized. The portal can be viewed only in German.
The three main digitized Kriegssammlungen are included elsewhere on this blog, the war collection of the former Hofbibliothek at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, the digital collections of the Wienbibliothek in Vienna, and the Feldzeitungen digitized at the Universitätsbiblothek Heidelberg. The Badische Landesbibliothek has digitized some 100 books from the period 1914-1918. The Lippische Landesbibliothek Detmold has digitized 47 Feldzeitungen. The Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig has created a virtual exhibition DNB – 100 Jahre Erster Weltkrieg. The Staatsbibliothek Bamberg has digitized some 300 photographs and posters from the period 1914 to 1920 kept in their Kriegssammlung.
Kriegssammlungen in Deutschland 1914-1918
The website The Long, Long Trail: The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918 has been created by Chris Baker as an extensive online research guide to this subject. On this website you find several sections, on regiments and other army formations, soldiers, battles and battlefields, army life and regulations. In every section you will find a selection of useful web links. The website is continually being added to and redesigned. Among recent additions are the main British field commanders’ despatches.
The Long, Long Trail: The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918