Monday, June 6, 2011

The Internet Archive

The Internet Archive - Texts

Ignore this resource at your peril; it is one of the richest sources of free WW1 contemporary material on the internet.

The bottom of the ‘Advanced Search’ window contains guidance on forming your queries.  Although I use the advanced search when interrogating specific fields I tend to stick to the simple text search.

My search strategy is fairly simple:

  • If you know the title; use it.....  title:"R. F. C. H. Q., 1914-1918", but make sure its right.  This would not work:  title:"RFC HQ, 1914-1918"


  • Try the author and a related word or term..... Fuller  tank ... By default the search engine uses the Boolean Operator AND.


  • Target Keywords (see above).... The vast majority of the WW1 material has bee attributed with the keywords “1914-1918” and “World War”.

  •  .......but don’t rely on them......  It would not be unreasonable to assume that a tactics manual published in 1915 would be attributed with the keywords “1914-1918”.  However, in the example below the keywords listed under ‘Subject’ are:  Tactics -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.




Go to the internet archive site and try this simple search for texts about tanks in the First World War [ “1914-1918” tank ].  What did you get?  After deleting the duplicates and the Pittsburg souvenir book I was left with the following:

Tanks in the great war, 1914-1918 (1920)

Tanks, 1914-1918; the log-book of a pioneer (1919)

Life in a tank (1918)

A company of tanks (1920)

The tank in action (1920)

The tale of a tank, and other yarns ([1917?])



This time you are on your own............ try and find ‘Sir Douglas Haig's despatches’, and ‘William Robertson’s autobiography’.


Haig "1914-1918" would have given you:

Sir Douglas Haig's despatches (December 1915-April 1919) (1919)

Robertson “1914-1918” would have given you:

From private to field-marshal (1921): Robertson, William Robert


How about Field Service Regulations Part One?

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