Contemporary history of Luxembourg


Data collections are essential for historical research. In addition to official archives and state institutions, collections from research institutions and private holders face different challenges in creation and consistency, preservation and use. While most private collections are stored in official and state archives due to donations or the acquisition of private holdings, crowdsourcing data as private collections is a different approach. Crowdsourcing has become popular in Citizen Science and public history projects in the last decade. Although crowdsourcing is not (always) meant to create an archive, the data or contributions collected are an archive nonetheless. This paper aims to highlight the possibilities and pitfalls of crowdsourcing to build an archive of private origin. In February 2021, a team at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History at the University of Luxembourg launched a call for contributions to collect ego documents about the war generation. As part of the project, "WARLUX - War Experiences in Luxembourg", the team is researching the personal side of the history of the Luxembourgish war generation. To uncover the individual experiences of these men, women and families, the team asked the public to share their family stories, letters, diaries, photographs and other personal documents. The researchers aimed to enrich records on individuals, which had not yet been collected or published. While the crowdsourcing campaign was intended as complementary research material, we have created a unique digital archive of personal memories and individual voices in the form of first-hand documents and a novelty in the cultural landscape in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. In my presentation and paper, I will explore the possibilities of crowdsourced (digital) private archives, their pitfalls and challenges such as copyright and GDRP and sensitive information and its future implementation into official cultural institutions.

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