The First World War online

Series: Our favourite State Library eresources.

People often ask us what our most loved eresources are. Admittedly we all have a favourite, or two, or three. It’s hard to pick as there are so many wonderful State Library eresources available. In this series our Librarians and Library Technicians share with you their most favourite eresources and how they’ve been used to solve research queries.

Next in the series we look at The First World War online, a big favourite of Library Technician Natasha Jamieson.

So why is The First World War online so fabulous?

The database provides a wealth of primary sources that can be very helpful for assignments. Additional features like ‘My Archive’ and ‘My Lightbox’ make it easy to save documents and images from multiple search sessions.

Best of all, you can access The First World War online from home with your free State Library membership.

Image from The First World War online database home page.

The database is divided into four thematic modules:

  • Personal Experiences
  • Propaganda and Recruitment
  • Visual Perspectives and Narratives
  • Global Conflict

A focus on primary sources

It has a remarkable collection of primary and secondary source material for the study of the Great War. You can access the four individual modules from the ‘Introduction’ menu, and then ‘Nature and Scope’.

Image from The First World War online database.

Original documents from archives around the world include personal narratives, diaries, newspapers, posters, postcards, photographs, printed books, military and government files, ephemera, artwork, personal artefacts and film. This material is complemented by a range of contextual secondary features.

Audio-visual collections

The First World War online database has a comprehensive collection of audio-visual material. There are film clips that span the entire Great War conflict covering a wide range of topics from medical services to warfare to propaganda. You can also listen to oral history recordings, 50 in total, from veterans and those who lived through the First World War providing a unique and compelling perspective.

History buffs will enjoy watching the film clips from the time, listening to oral histories, and exploring the curated galleries of photographs, 360 objects, art works and more.

Use the 'Interactive Maps' to learn about the extension of the conflict, explore significant dates and events of the Great War through the chronology and view fascinating visual images.

Image of interactive timeline from The First World War online database.

Other helpful tools

Looking for an overview? Visit the 'Explore' section and discover the curated essays, case studies, and personal experiences; explore the chronology of World War I or browse documents from some of the key nations involved through The Global Conflict. There is also a Great War glossary to help with the meaning of words and phrases from the time.

Join now and start searching The First World War online.

Look out for the next blog in this series #FavouriteEresources


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