Military band, Lorraine 1915, unknown photographer, Max Kranz/Europeana

Europeana, which runs Europeana Photography, the online image archive that includes more than 2 million historical photographs from European collections in 34 countries, is launching the new Europeana 1914-1918 thematic collection, covering World War I.

The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library. At the event teams from three generations and several European countries will compete to digitally transcribe as many World War One documents as possible, and link them to other historical sources such as early 20th century newspapers. Transcribathons are crowdsourcing events and gather people from across Europe and online to create digital versions of handwritten items. Since their launch in November 2016, several million characters and 12,000 documents, from love letters to poems, have been transcribed.

Frank Drauschke, of Europeana 1914-1918 project team says: “Most sources on Europeana 1914-1918 are written by hand, and often hard to decipher. Transcribathon aims to help us ‘polish’ a raw diamond by this making private memorabilia readable online. We utilise the power of our community to transcribe as many private stories and documents from diverse languages and regions of Europe and make them available to the public.”