Ultimately the aim is to create a database of the information contained in the Casualty book and then provide an easy way to navigate interactive version of the book for visitors and researchers to use. Finally we would like to augment the raw data with contextual material to realize its potential as a window onto:
• the impact of the war on individuals
• the network and organization of Casualty Clearing Stations and hospitals to which Norfolk Regiment Soldiers were sent
• providing a link to the activities of each of the five battalions as described in the Battalion War Diaries and other accounts by date of casualty
• the incidence of Prisoners of War, linking with other sources such as diaries and accounts within the Museum collection.
Last year the Norfolk Record Office Conservation Studio made high resolution TIFF digital images of each page as security copy and good quality jpeg images of each page for interactive use. They also conserved the Casualty Book, re-stitching the pages, replacing front and back covers with matching board, retaining the originals for reference and rebinding. The Norfolk Museums Service (NMS) are currently exploring the possibility of launching the transcribing of the book as a crowd-sourcing project and we have the support of the History Department of the UEA in this aim. This is a new digital approach for NMS. The learning from this initiative would inform future initiatives within the Service and develop NMS staff digital project and collection management skills. Volunteers at the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum have built up a large body of knowledge over the last 20 years which we aim to capture in their contributions to the contextual information.
The Interactive Casualty Book
The end product will allow detailed interrogation of the data by date, battalion, incidence of sickness, wound types etc. An online resource will use the book as a focus for collating the Regiment’s First World War history and the material associated with it that we have in the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum collection.
We have just conducted a feasibility study into how digital transcription of the records and creation of the database might work. There are various methods currently under consideration. These vary from using crowd-sourced online transcription using either a pre-existing but modified platform or creating a system. We are also looking at whether this might be best done as a crowd-sourced project based on hand transcribing the records off-line and then creating a website using the data. Subject to future funding, this will be explored further and the project will move forward and the website will expand we hope, to include these records.
Would you like to help?
The Museum is always looking for volunteers to help in all sorts of ways. One way people can help us now from home is to transcribe one page (or more) of The Casualty Book. and send us the result in a text file. We have a terms list to help you and are also working on an instruction set to assist you. If you are interested please get in touch.