Oxford academics are leading a nationwide fundraising campaign to help preserve our memories of the First World War.
‘Lest We Forget’ is an initiative which aims to train local communities across the UK to run digital collection days.
At a collection day, experts take digital copies of objects and stories of the generation who lived through World War One.
‘Almost everyone was impacted by the First World War,’ said project leader Dr Stuart Lee of Oxford University’s English Faculty.
‘We must not forget the sacrifice that generation made. Every day the stories and memories of that generation are being lost.
‘We want to make sure that those boxes of memories and memorabilia that kept in our attics, passed down through the generations, are not thrown away.’
Lest We Forget will capture the stories of the Great War before they are lost forever, preserving them for future generations. The team plans to do this through mass-digitisation of objects and memories.
The programme will help local communities organise and run digitisation days to capture memories of World War One that have been passed down through families, as well as photographs, diaries, letters and mementos that tell the story of a generation at war.
Once the stories have been collected, they will be made available to the public through a large, free-to-use online database, which will be launched in November 2018 to complement projects and events nationwide commemorating one hundred years since the end of the war.
The database and its contents will be free to reuse, enabling the stories and experiences of the past to move into research and education today.
In order to support local communities and to train local digital champions who can capture memories and objects, Lest We Forget aims to raise at least £80,000 through a campaign hosted on OxReach, the University’s crowdfunding platform.
‘This website will be one of the most important resources for people teaching, studying or with an interest in the First World War,’ said Dr Lee, who is also the University's Deputy Chief Information Officer.
The crowdfunding page is here.