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Oxford University launches project to digitise First World War items
J.R.R. Tolkien in 1916

The University of Oxford has launched a campaign to place personal accounts of the First World War online in time for the centenary of Armistice Day in 2018.

“‘Lest We Forget” aims to run a mass-digitisation initiative of publicly-held material from the First World War.

The experiences J.R.R. Tolkien underwent in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme had a profound effect on him and his writing. As such, the project’s crowd-funding campaign is offering the chance to win three major publications donated by Tolkien scholars and publishers amounting to over £1,000.

Prizes include signed copies of John Garth’s Tolkien and the Great War, A Companion to J. R. R. Tolkien signed by the editor, and the forthcoming four-volume J.R.R. Tolkien: Critical Assessments of Major Writers signed by the editor.

The University of Oxford is aiming to raise £80,000 to train about 70 “digital champions” in archival recording skills.

Project lead Dr Stuart Lee said:

We want to make sure those boxes of memories and memorabilia, passed down through the generations, are not thrown away. Every day the stories and memories of that generation are being lost.

Click here to support “Lest We Forget”

About the Author: Daniel Helen
Daniel is an Officer without Portfolio and Trustee of The Tolkien Society. Elected in 2014, he is mainly responsible for the Society's digital operations, including this website.