User Identification Sought for Historical Remains

A large number of historical remains from WWI that were photographed during the war have been documented on the internet, where a new British project is hoping users will be able to lend a hand in the identification process. Users are asked to look at the photographs and help to label them if they have any information on the historical remains, which include ruins and other sites on which information is currently scarce.

The name of the project is “Britain from Above,” so named due to the use of aerial photography to acquire many of the images in question. English Heritage has created the project by putting the photographs in question into an online database, where internet users are able to examine several images of historical remains. Those who have knowledge on various images are then able to label them to aid in the identification process. Identification is not the only goal of this project, but also the digitization of the photos, a goal which they are already achieving regardless of user interaction. They intend to continue this project for at least four years.

Not only does this project have the potential to influence the amount of information available regarding the subjects of the photographs, but it can also have an impact on how the information regarding these historical remains is received. Users who view photos that have already been imbued with facts and data by other users are able to view the image right next to the posted information, giving them a visual representation of the facts they have read.

Mere facts are not the only informational sources available through the site. Users can also view pictures of what the photographed locations look like now, as well as images of those who have some relationship with the historical remains in question. They can read little-known stories that will enhance their understanding of the war. Ideally, all of these types of resources and information will be available for every digitized photograph by the time the project has ended, the Mail Online reports.

So far, Britain from Above has digitized nearly one hundred thousand photographs of historical remains. Some pictures have already been tagged with interesting information. One such picture, for instance, depicts the lake at Saint James’ Park. This picture has been tagged by the WWI centenary minister with information on how the lake was drained during the conflict to make it less visible to opposing airmen. This is just one example of the type of interesting factoid that these photographed historical remains have to offer when knowledgeable people chime in with further information.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE