Volunteers transcribe WW1 experiences of Queenslanders

Published Saturday, 29 April, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

The recollections and experiences of Queenslanders involved in the First World War will be digitised thanks to volunteers at the State Library of Queensland (SLQ).

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said today (Saturday) dozens of volunteers are helping transcribe and digitise journals and letters through the Pitch in! initiative – part of the Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation program.

Ms Enoch said digital initiatives like Pitch in! – made possible through Palaszczuk Government funding and dedicated volunteers – provide a unique opportunity for people to understand more about the courageous Queenslanders who sacrificed their lives in the First World War.

“The work SLQ is doing to preserve and digitise precious First World War items is creating a lasting legacy for current and future generations of Queenslanders,” Ms Enoch said.

“I commend the State Library for their efforts and want to thank the volunteers who are helping to ensure the ANZAC spirit and the stories of everyday Queenslanders live on.”

State Library of Queensland is the first public library and arts institution to make their content available on the online transcription crowdsourcing platform DigiVol.

State Library joins Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institute and CSIRO as institutions around the world using DigiVol to increase access to their collections and harness the knowledge of their community.  

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald said: “Opening up State Library collections for people to transcribe on DigiVol supports a culture of discovery and inquiry, and facilitates the innovative use of traditional library material.

“Seven collections with over 900 pages have already been transcribed by 47 volunteers in DigiVol, and more than 30 volunteers continue to work with State Library staff on other activities to support Q ANZAC 100,” she said.

Volunteers are currently transcribing and validating the handwritten text from digitised issues of the Red Cross magazine (1915 – 1919) and postcards from the First World War collection of Private Frederic James Bassett.

State Library has made soldier portraits from the Australasian Commercial Traveller and Queenslander who fought in the Great War available online, bringing the number of portraits of Queensland soldiers to more than 32,000.

Other new content being made available includes a series of notebooks compiled by Archibald Meston (1851 – 1924) – who was originally a journalist and politician but is known for his role as the Protector of Aborigines for Southern Queensland from 1897 – 1904.

He visited many Aboriginal communities and camps across Queensland and, as an amateur ethnologist and linguist, documented Aboriginal culture and language.

Transcribed versions, now searchable and easier to read, will be included in the State Library of Queensland’s catalogue, One Search.

State Library of Queensland invites you to help transcribe heritage collections. Register to become a volunteer – all you need is a willingness to contribute.

For more information, visit slq.qld.gov.au/about-us/pitch-in/transcribe or qanzac100.slq.qld.gov.au/showcase/soldier-portraits.

The Palaszczuk Government proudly supports Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation.


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