Digital Version Of British Library’s Girdwood Collection Now In Wikimedia Commons


Wikimedia LogoA collection of photographs depicting the Indian Army in the First World War called Girwood Collection that was held by the British Library in London has now been digitized and made available on Wikimedia Commons.

Digitized Girdwood Collection

According to Wikimedia Commons, these photographs were shot by Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood, when the Indian Army went on expedition to France  in July-September 1915. Although he was not allowed to follow the troops into France to film them, he was later allowed to photograph the aftermath of the air raids and the Indian military hospitals in Bournemouth and Brighton. The collection consists of about 350 images, which date back to 1915.

The collection was donated by J.W. Hose, a senior official at the India Office, in 1922 and the collection has been digitised as part of the Europeana 1914-1918 program from the images in Photo(24) at the British Library, obtained from the India Office Library when it was dissolved in the 1980s.

British Library’s page on Wikimedia Commons states that several of the front line photos from this collection were faked  but were described and distributed as authentic, and was continued to be circulated for several years after the war.

Other digitization initiatives to save Indian history

Punjabi Sahitya Akademi Reference Lab has been digitizing 150 years old manuscripts since May 2012 and has scanned and saved around 1,000 manuscripts, stone-printed scripts, poetry books on computer hard discs.

In January 2013, Palagummi Sainath, the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu had announced his plan to launch an online platform called ‘People’s Archive of Rural India’ to archive various aspects of rural life in India.

In December 2011, music director Shantanu Moitra in association with INK, showcased a prototype of Folksome, which allows users to submit folk music to an online repository, which maps it to a region.