Workers Underground

A film, case report and dataset on how digital heritage connects and unites European citizens.

In the first half of 2016 we captured the impact of Europeana 1914-1918. We’ve narrated this in a film, supported by a case report and an anonymised dataset, showcasing how the service connects and unites European citizens.

Europeana 1914-1918, a digital heritage service run by Europeana, helps European citizens contribute, share and explore stories, films and historical material about the First World War from across Europe and beyond.

Case report

We’ve published a case study explaining why, how, when and with whom we assessed the impact of Europeana 1914-1918. Check it out to understand this complex process.


We sanitised and anonymised the dataset with all the data of this impact assessment and published it for you to play with. Have a go and share with us what you find!

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The objectives:

The primary objective of this study was to conduct the first application of the Europeana Impact Assessment Framework, exploring the social and cultural impact of a well-established digital heritage service: Europeana 1914-1918. Did it have an impact in this area? And, if so, how could this be made more tangible for Europeana’s stakeholders and the wider community? The commissioners secondary objective was to understand the process of impact assessment better, and use the findings to build a better understanding of this process in their network.

What did we do?

At the heart of the Impact Framework are five ‘lenses’; perspectives on impact as put forth by Professor Simon Tanner and the Europeana Impact Assessment Taskforce. In our process we have shaped and refined these and then used these to collect, review and analyse data collected directly from contributors, users and non-users of the service. The film ‘Workers Underground’ is the result of experimenting with capturing impact as it happens whilst meanwhile assessing it through thorough quantitative research. We’ve experimented with using visual storytelling techniques from a human interest narration combined with a data visualisation narrative. The film’s content is supported by a case study and a published anonimysed dataset.

What did we learn about Europeana 1914-1918?

We feel confident that the film we’ve made demonstrates that the service provided by Europeana 1914-1918 has achieved social and cultural impact. Some of the lenses we used to make these points show a very clear positive impact in the areas of community and legacy, while others indicate that there is still much to gain by improving areas of the service, in learning in particular. This process has revealed a lot about the service, and its impact, more than anyone expected.

What will you learn if you dive deeper?

You will read in the case study about why and how we have developed this case study. We describe the methodology we used for how we gathered, analysed and interpreted the data — first presenting each of the five lenses in detail, followed by describing the practical elements to collecting the data and delivering the film. Finally, we have written a report card analysing what went well (or not), what we learnt and how we will apply this to our next assessment.

We hope this study supports others in the cultural and creative industries struggling with the issues of impact, impact assessment and impact narration. We welcome your feedback and invite you to join us as we continue to build our understanding of this complex subjectmatter.

Three videoclips

To help promote the film and the case study we additionally created three video clips containing remarkable quotes from contributors.

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