Exploring the League of Nations’ Official Documentation – A Call for Ideas

Did you enjoy our recent interview with Susan Pedersen on her recent book The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire?

If so, or if you are interested in digital history projects and international collaborations, here’s the opportunity for you. The Institutional Memory Section at the United Nations Office in Geneva  has announced a “call for ideas” to explore the official documentation of the League of Nations, much of which has been scanned with high-quality OCR readers and is now available online.

A recent announcement explains:

The United Nations is offering you a unique opportunity to help better understand its history. We are looking for brand new ways of exploring the official documentation of the League of Nations. This will help historians and other researchers to better mine and visualize the contents from the archives materials and propose new and undiscovered paths for research. How would you like to see these documents? According to which criteria? What aspect would be the most original? Send us your suggestions and we will develop your ideas as challenges using our Unite Ideas platform. Resulting tools and representations will be eventually shared online for the benefit of the research community.

• All documents are available at: http://search.un.org/beta/results.php?tpl=lon

• Check our Unite Ideas platform: https://unite.un.org/ideas/

• Inquiries: archives@unog.ch

Documents background

The League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations, produced a substantial number of official documents during its existence from 1919 to 1946, addressing virtually all international issues of concern during the Interwar Era. Little research has been done with these documents as complete sets to examine overall trends and contents. Recent digitization efforts have produced two sets of documents that have been digitized and indexed in their entirety: Council Documents (documents distributed to the members of the League of Nations Council) and Council and Member State Documents (documents distributed to the Council and all Member States of the League). These document sets include PDF files of the texts that have been scanned with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, and XML metadata files containing basic descriptive metadata for each document (date, title, document symbol, language). The two document sets contain a total of approximately 27,000 documents.

If this sounds of interest, then write into the above e-mail address (archives@unog.chfor additional details on the submission of proposals. Move quickly, though: the deadline for the submission of proposals is October 30, 2015.

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