World War II Nominal Roll database: accurate record or true record?

Park, William A. (2009). World War II Nominal Roll database: accurate record or true record? MPhil Thesis, School of Journalism and Communication, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2015.304

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Author Park, William A.
Thesis Title World War II Nominal Roll database: accurate record or true record?
School, Centre or Institute School of Journalism and Communication
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2015.304
Publication date 2009-04
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Open Access Status Other
Supervisor Martin Hadlow
John Cokley
Total pages 120
Subjects 400000 Journalism, Librarianship and Curatorial Studies
Formatted abstract
The Australian Government Internet database, the World War Two Nominal Roll, is problematised and then analysed as a document of patron-sponsored alternative journalism as described by Atton and Hamilton, because it attempts to fulfill functions previously completed in Australia by newspaper publishers and television producers. These functions – of discovering, establishing, editing, contextualizing, recording and publishing memory – have long been regarded as roles of journalism. Later they have been seen as roles also of literary publishing and documentary filmmaking, and most recently of online records management. They became especially evident in the 1990s, the decade of the 50th anniversary of many World War II events, during which many anniversary supplements were published in Australian newspapers and in television documentaries. Partly as a result of this major anniversary, the Australian Government undertook the tasks of discovering, establishing, editing, recording, contextualizing, and publishing World War II military memories as an online database known as the World War Two Nominal Roll. The enactment of this large task required the engagement of a subcontractor who tendered on the basis of skills in records management, and the adoption of a methodology which offered some level of quality assurance of the outputs. The problematisation of this project suggests that the engagement of the subcontractor and the methodology adopted for the World War Two Nominal Roll are analogous to the engagement of professionalized journalists, and the adoption of recognised journalistic methods, for the publication of a media artifact such as an anniversary supplement. In that light, this thesis compares the error rates evident in the Nominal Roll with the literature of error rates in contemporary newspapers, and compares some of the audience effects of publishing the Nominal Roll with those of publishing newspapers. This involves a comprehensive examination and critique of the physical nature of the Roll and the processes of its production. The analysis in the first place suggests that the database Roll is overall more trustworthy than established journalism artifacts but in detail more susceptible to errors of fact and context and less likely to be corrected. This leads to the second assessment that the publication of the database Roll is less effective than newspapers as a means of memorialisation. Finally, the findings suggest that the processes deployed in the compilation of the database Roll would have benefitted from the adoption of aspects of ordinary journalistic routines not used by the database publishers. Reasons for this are proposed and discussed.
Keyword Records
Alternative journalism
World War 2 Nominal Roll Database
Military recruitment

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Created: Fri, 12 Jun 2009, 14:33:18 EST by Mr William Park on behalf of Library - Information Access Service