April 2017 marks the 100-year anniversary of the United States entering WWI. To commemorate this anniversary, the US National Archives (NARA) has launched Remembering WWI, an iPad and Android application that invites audiences to explore, collaborate, and engage with the National Archives’ extensive collection of World War I moving and still images. The app is now available in the iTunes and Google Play stores.
The app provides an unprecedented collection of WWI content digitized and preserved as part of the larger Wartime Films Project, much of it never-before-seen by the public. This includes photographs and films originally shot by the US Signal Corps on behalf of various armed forces units during the 1914–1920 timeframe. Using the archival content within the app, you can create your own collections and build and share new narratives around the people, events, and themes you’re exploring.
The National Archives is leading this national collaborative effort with participation from the Library of Congress and National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, the WWI Centennial Commission, the American Association of State and Local History, and the National WWI Museum and Memorial. This collaboration will ensure our audiences are connected to an extensive collection of resources to further provide an enriched experience with the app. If you are a local, regional, or state level organization that would like to add your WWI collections into the app, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The app is the outcome of in-depth user research and targets teachers, museum professionals and digital humanities scholars. We have been working with representatives from each to develop the best possible experience for these groups to use the app in their communities. For example, teachers will be able to use the app to enhance a lesson on WWI the classroom, museums can use NARA’s WWI materials to enrich the narrative around their own local collections, and on the backend, humanities scholars will be able to utilize and reuse the metadata that we are generating from this content. These groups have been helping us pull out themes from NARA’s WWI collections that can help us tell a more complete story of the war and its aftermath, and we have spotlighted collections of everything from a women’s camouflage unit in New York City to some of the first aerial photos taken in combat, all for you to use and reuse.
We encourage you to download and test the app, and share it with your teacher, museum, and digital humanities networks. If you’d like to connect with others using the app, visit the NARA History Hub space we’ve created. We’d like to keep the process around Remembering WWI’s development collaborative, and you can use this space to start conversations, alert us to any potential bugs, and ask questions as you use the app.