First World War Poetry Digital Archive


The First World War Poetry Archive is divided into a series of collections corresponding to the archival resources that it contains. These collections are:

You can read more about these collections by visiting The Collections page.

In addition to these collections the Poetry Archive also provides a gateway to The Great War Archive, a community collection holding over 6,500 items originating from the First World War contributed by the general public between March and July 2008. There is also an education area which contains online tutorials, resource packs, a tool for creating annotated trails through the archive, links to other websites, online communities, and podcasts.

Browsing the Archive

The archive is divided up into collections with similar subject matter (e.g. 'The Wilfred Owen Collection', 'The Audio Collection'). You can browse the items within each collection via a number of routes.

For collections relating to specific poets:

For contextual collections (e.g. The Photographic Collection) you can also browse items of interest via a set of standard keywords e.g. 'Women', 'Western Front', 'Allied Forces'.

Search Box

You can search the archive for a specific word appearing in the bibliographic record of any item by typing this word into the search box that appears in the left hand column of any page. You can select to search either the poetry archive and its collections or The Great War Archive. Once your search is submitted you will be presented with the results. Here you can add items to your favourites or select items to compare (items must be single pages, not a multipage item) Click on any item to view it and its bibliographic record.

You can conduct a more detailed and precise search by using the advanced search, linked to from every page under the search box in the left hand column. The advanced search will let you search for specific words in up to three fields, search by date, and also provides the opportunity to search the full text corpora contained within the archive. A description of the fields available to search is contained within the next section.

Example searches would be:

Advanced Search

Viewing items

Every item in the archive can be viewed or viewed upon download, and is presented along with a bibliographic record.

Viewing an item

There are four main types of items in the archive: images, films, audio and text.

When viewing an image you have the option to zoom in or out using the zoom button, rotate or move the image left, right, up or down using the arrow buttons. You can also copy and save parts of the image by using the knife tool.

Viewing an image

If you have a suitable media player installed within your browser your computer should be able to play audio and video files on the website itself. If you can not play the files in your browser download them to your computer and open in a suitable media player.

Text files are viewed within a scrollable window. Some text files in The Great War Archive are PDF documents or Word Documents, these need to be downloaded to your computer to be read.

Viewing multipage items

Some items in the archive consist of a number of pages. For example a letter may have 4 or 5 pages, or a poetry manuscript may be written on the front and back of a piece of paper. Whilst these will be presented as separate images they have been grouped together so you can easily move through the pages in sequence. When you view an item like this you will first of all be presented with a 'document description' which will tell you information about the item as a whole and also how many pages that it includes. To view the pages, click on the links in the panel to the left, then choose to view the page image or the page description (the page record).

Viewing a multi-page item

Item records and bibliographic fields

Every item within the archive has a bibliographic record associated with it. This record will tell you the title of the item, the date it was created, its author, where it was created, information about the original item it was derived from, and also supply any relevant additional notes. The specific fields are as follows:

Some of the above fields will appear as hyperlinks in the record. You can click on any of these links to see other items with the same data.

Fields in the Great War Archive

The items in The Great War Archive contain a subset of the above fields. In addition to these the records also hold information on who submitted the item and whether they submitted the item on behalf of another person.

Adding items to 'My favourites '

Star icon to make item as a favourite

You can add items to 'My favourites ' by clicking on the star icon either when presented with the search results or when viewing the item itself. You can see how many items you have in 'My favourites ' and view these by clicking on the 'My favourites ' link in the left hand panel.

When you view 'My favourites ' you can perform a number of tasks. You can compare two items that you have selected side by side (only possible for images that have been selected from individual items of individual pages within multipage item), or view the items in a slideshow.

Comparing items

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive is aimed at releasing a wealth of resources to researchers, teachers, students, and the general public to further the promotion of the subject.

Anyone is entitled to use the material for Educational Purposes (means for the purpose of education, teaching, distance learning, private study and/or research) but not for Commercial Purposes (i.e. selling or reselling the material or using it for any commercial gain).

For further information please read the permitted use guidelines.

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