Initiated by Cegesoma in Spring 2021, the project Wikibase Resistance aims at providing a research tool about persons involved in resistance activities in Belgium during the Second World War. This tool is a collaborative knowledge base destined for the collection and publication of information from personal forms and files conserved at CegeSoma and other State Archives repositories. The database contains structured, multilingual, human and machine-readable data and allows search queries based on name, date of birth, and place of residence.
Wikibase Resistance serves multiple purposes: on the one hand the project aims at centralising data that is dispersed among various physical repositories and digital files so as to improve access to the collections of Cegesoma and their visibility. On the other hand, this optimisation allows to better take into consideration the demands from users with regard to persons while exploring new ways to exploit data.
Finally, this knowledge base also serves the purpose of linking these persons to external databases, in order to provide additional context information and to open up the collections. By transitioning from an approach based on data silos towards a logic of opening up data, Cegesoma is fully in line with the digital transition under way in the archives sector.
In practice, over 150,000 resistance fighters active during the Second World War in Belgium will ultimately be identified via this platform. The descriptions of these thousands of “combatants of the shadows” will enable researchers to find, among others, the precise references of their individual files, whether they originate from the State Security, the Resistance Office, the resistance movements themselves - such as Groupe G of Witte Brigade - or are conserved by the Archives Service for War Victims.
For more information and news updates about this project supported by the daily work of some fifteen volunteers, of personnel members, and of trainees, please visit the webpage dedicated to the project.