The History of Commemoration on the Web

Memory institutions, universities, broadcasting companies and a range of heritage and educational organisations increasingly engage with the public in the context of significant anniversaries, whether international, national or local. From the late 20th century onwards, alongside radio and TV programming, books, exhibitions and other events, the web has been an important element in this engagement.

Focusing on ‘official’ commemoration, this project will examine how commemoration online has evolved since the mid 1990s. A small study forming part of the ‘Big UK Domain Data for the Arts and Humanities’ project ( will concentrate on three key events which have international resonance: the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade (2007); the series of 70th anniversaries connected with the Second World War (2009 to date); and the planning for the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War (2014–18). The British Library is already developing a special collection of websites related to the First World War centenary, and there is a similar collection for the abolition of slavery. Both of these are publicly available at


Jane Winters, the University of London,