Media release: Friday, 19 December 2008
Thousands of Australians across the nation are discovering more about World War I diggers and their communities by visiting Mapping our Anzacs a new website developed by the National Archives.
'We wanted to provide a way for people to explore the impact of World War I through their own community,' said web content developer Tim Sherratt from the National Archives, who designed the project. 'But the website does far more than that. It provides a totally different way of accessing and interacting with our collection.'
By browsing a series of maps, website visitors can view the names of Anzacs who were born or enlisted in more than 10,000 places across the world. Links provide more details on each individual, including access to digitised copies of their service record. Visitors can also attach mementoes of their own World War I diggers through the online scrapbook.
Before Mapping our Anzacs was available, researchers had to know who they were looking for.
'Now they can just dive in and start following the connections they'll find between people and places,' said Dr Sherratt. 'It's a chance to explore the collection rather than searching for something in particular. The site encourages you to browse. With each record, you have links to others who enlisted or were born at the same place or who had the same next of kin.'
The project has been enormously popular with Australians across the nation, receiving 9,000 visits in the first month, with 60,000 views of individual service files. More than 100 scrapbook entries have been added by visitors to the site, including 50 photographs.
'The entries include newspaper death notices, and photographs of medals and plaques, as well as family pictures of and stories about those who served,' said Dr Sherratt. 'It really is a scrapbook. These bits and pieces all have special meaning for the people who put them there and they value the opportunity of sharing them with others who are interested.'
Mapping our Anzacs is available for exploration at mappingouranzacs.naa.gov.au.