It’s a fascinating idea: Digitize thousands of WWI diaries and invite the public — dubbed “citizen historians” — to annotate the documents. And, do it not under the aegis of a traditional academic institution or public sector organization but rather a newfangled quasi-academic, quasi-digital corporation: Zooniverse. It is a creative way of engaging amateurs in the work of historical research and the digital platform (from my brief exploration) is easy to use. I think that the pre-determined tags are limited and that a trained historian or literary critic would ask much more complicated questions about the content and significance of the documents than a simple tag can communicate. But, really, why quibble with the details when the project is so ambitious and impressive in its scope?
Zooniverse’s Operation War Diary
A BBC News article on the project, “Digitized WWI Diaries Highlight Battle Confusion”