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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Collection distractions #1: IWM's First World War films

This week at Imperial War Museums we finally made available a newly digitised set of films dating to the First World War (and just before/after). These added hundreds to those we had already digitised, bringing the total to around 1200 hugely varied early films. In fact I think there may be more that listed at that link, because some have not been tagged with their period (feel free to remove the period filters). Digitisation was funded with the generous assistance of the EFG1914 project, part of the European Film Gateway. Take a look at what they have. You are welcome to reuse many of the films you can see on our website - just click the "share and reuse" link to grab the embedding code, where it's available. At the moment I'm afraid it's streaming Flash but I have that in my sights, together with higher quality renditions (those annoying watermarks should go in due course). Today I've picked a couple of aviation-related films that have caught my eye:

British Women's Air Force
Not as glamorous as it sounds...
Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters taking off from HMS Argus
This one I can't embed, but go and take a look. It's quite cool seeing how they're brought up to the deck on lifts, and they seem to take off at almost walking speed.
Unfolding the wings of a Short bomber and various other shots of aircraft - flying boats etc. I don't know much about these early planes but I'm constantly surprised at how these things could even fly, at the speed of development that took us from the Wright brothers barely getting off the ground a few years earlier to these varied and formidable weird machines.
German fliers and planes on the Western Front, 1916-1918.
Talking of unexpected machines, when I first saw pictures of the Gotha bombers I was taken aback. Here's a whole variety-pack of German aircraft, including Gothas (which first brought the terror of war from the air to London), as well as dog-fights (some of it fake), aerial photography, and (in reel 2) observation balloons on fire, the Red Baron, and Hermann Goering. Ugh. Here's reel 1:

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