April 9-12, 2008
Montréal, Québec, Canada

Demonstrations: Description

Electronic remembrance: from roll of honour interactive to biographical base for national online collaboration

Bruce Ralston, Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand

The demonstration will show the relationship between the Museum and a data resource, Cenotaph; examines the recent project to highlight the collaborative nature of the exercise and the focus on providing alternative points of access for several types of user through search strategies, presentation and exhibition galleries; looks at the impacts on and access to other Museum data sets; and considers the developments lying in store that involve other agencies with online resources to achieve persistent linkage across a mixture of online resources.

Cenotaph is the cornerstone of our military information system, a biographical database of New Zealanders who have died in conflicts from the 19th century New Zealand Wars and South Africa, through the First and Second World Wars to Korea, Malaya and Vietnam and on to peacekeeping missions.

Cenotaph started in 1997 primarily as a roll of honour of those who died as a result of war service and as a gallery interactive. Now it includes many personnel who have died since war service. Virtually all those who served in World War One are included.

A government fund to develop digital content helped us convert a World War One published resource into online records. The fund required development through partnership. Through professional interactions the project has established a relationship with a number of other heritage, military and government organisations, which during 2008 should result in the development of a national authority file of service personnel and enable direct linkage between a range of online data sources based on our resource.

The database now consists of 114,000 records, many of which include a portrait taken from published sources or supplied by family members. We draw information from a range of published sources and from the Museum Library's manuscripts collection and references to personal items on display in Auckland War Memorial Museum's Scars on the Heart (war stories) galleries.

Other outcomes of the project, including establishment of persistent URLs and web browsability, have had a flow on impact for access to other Museum collection data sets.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 2 [Demonstrations]

Keywords: war, memorial, roll of honour, biographical, exhibition, Cenotaph, collaboration