Can you read what they wrote 100 years ago?

On 9 November we launched a new online crowdsourcing campaign: Transcribe Europeana 1914-1918. We would like to mobilize our community to help unlock all the unique testimonies that can be found on our website for future generations by transcribing the handwritten texts that are otherwise difficult to read and cannot be searched or translated automatically online.

Transcribe Europeana 1914-1918 will run as an ongoing online challenge — a ‘Transcribathon’ — to encourage members of the public to transcribe digital versions of the unique letters and diaries of those who experienced the First World War and that can be found at Europeana 1914-1918. The challenge will run until 2018, the centenary of the end of WW1.

To launch the competition the 1st International Transcribathon took place this week in Riga at the Latvian National Library. Nine teams from across Europe participated in a special 48-hour challenge event judged by an international jury. Prizes were awarded on 9 November, to winning teams from France and the University of Latvia.

You are invited to take up the challenge at with digital versions of the handwritten testimonies from WW1’s home and battle fronts in 22 languages. Participants add their own transcriptions, geo-tags and other annotations to texts, enabling greater understanding and access to these original historical scripts. The website is free to use and open to all.
A simple e-tutorial teaches you how to decipher old and difficult handwriting in various languages with an easy-to-use online transcription tool. We hope that the challenge and the tool will help build an international community of contributors of all ages and nationalities who can share their knowledge and experience.
The Transcribathon is ‘run’ by accumulating virtual ‘miles’ with every word transcribed. You work on the transcription of selected documents, for example a diary or a letter, in a specific language. If you’ve find an interesting document on this site you can ask to have it uploaded on the tool. A ‘Transcribometer’ charts your progress as they compete against others to move up the transcribers league.
People can take part individually from home or as teams at special Transcribathon events where a jury awards points for quality, quantity and presentation of transcriptions. All future event details will be announced on and www.europeana1914-1918. The first planned events are for Romania and Italy in the first half of 2017.
Try it out for yourself now and dive into the lives of those who lived 100 years ago.

Workers underground

Earlier this year we asked all our contributors, visitors and followers: What does Europeana 1914-1918 mean to you? because we wanted to take a closer look at how we could serve our community best. The question was the starting point of an extensive research program in which we wanted to assess the social & cultural value of the Europeana 1914-1918 service.
Between 19 April and 7 June 2016 our partners Whalebone & Greenstone conducted online as well as offline surveys amongst our community. Interviews were also held during events in Prague and Poznan.

We are happy that we can now share with you the results of our research through this film Workers Underground.The film narrates the impact of the Europeana 1914-1918 service from a fresh perspective. As we developed the film we realised that we cannot draw just one conclusion from our research, and that the process of the research itself was as important to share. So, along with the film we developed a case study that explores the journey we took.

All of this couldn’t have been possible without you. It is your contributions and stories that have made Europeana 1914-18 what it is. We would love for you to share your thoughts and experiences with us via #europeanaimpact or email us at

But first, please turn up the volume on your device, sit back and enjoy our film.

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