August 1, 2014, marks the 100th anniversary of Germany’s declaration of war on Russia. Germany would soon declare war against France and invade Belgium. The First World War had begun. British troops entered the fray after Germany invaded Belgium on August 4, 1914. [For more about the history of WWI, including archival articles, visit Scientific American Chronicles World War I.]
Zooniverse’s Operation War Diary project seeks to tell the story of the British Army on the Western Front during the First World War by transcribing 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries. Citizen scientists—in this case citizen historians—will work with scientists to make previously inaccessible information available to academics, researchers and family historians worldwide.
Data gathered through Operation War Diary will be used for three main purposes:
To enrich The National Archives' catalogue descriptions for the unit war diaries.
To provide evidence about the experience of named individuals in the Imperial War Museums’ “Lives of the First World War” project.
To present academics with large amounts of accurate data to help them gain a better understanding of how the war was fought.