Thursday, August 17, 2006

Feeding the Matrix

Originally Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The CEFSG Matrix relies on the submissions that are made by the members of the CEF Study Group Forum, which come to the Matrix in a number of formats, such as:

  • personal research on the members relatives, friends or community figures (i.e. those on the local cenotaph);
  • private research on specific units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, which may have been associated with a specific person (i.e. granddad served in the "xth Battalion");
  • military research on units within the Army Corps or the Army Troops due to specific tactics, weapons or battle honours of that unit; or
  • the response of a member to a question posed by another member, a typical situation that covers a wide array of topics (people, units, equipment, battles, perpetuation, etc).

Without the submissions of the members, the Matrix would quickly stagnate, as have many other web sites covering the history of the Great War. The Matrix continues to expand because the members are active on a daily basis on the CEFSG Forum. Whenever a member makes a post that contains information that is useful to the Matrix, then that information is "captured" (or in Matrix Lingo it is "leeched") and posted to the appropriate Matrix page.

As an example of the type of information that is published and captured let us take a look at the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles. You can find this unit in the Summary Table for the Army Corps. Here you will find out that the unit was in the 3rd Division, 8th Brigade, and was recruited in Toronto, Ontario in March 1915 with Regimental Numbers assigned in the block 109101-110000.

  • Forum Pages are linked to the Summary Tables so that anyone researching a specific unit will find a link from the summary to a corresponding page in the Matrix. These are identified in the summary tables as hyperlinks of the format "Forum#", to identify if it is the 1st, 2nd or xth posting relating to that topic. If you look at the 4th CMR you will see that it is linked to only one forum page identified as "Forum".
  • Matrix Pages are linked to the Summary Tables when information has been received on a specific unit of the Army Corps or Army Troops. In this case a unit descriptor such as 4th CMR (4th Canadian Mounted Rifles) would take you to the specific page on this unit. It is on this unit specific page that members information would be posted as it relates to Active Dates, Theater of Operations, Major Battles / Battle Honours, Location and Details of War Diaries, Unit Background, Sub Components (i.e. battalions in a brigade) and finally the References (texts, web sites, personal research).
  • War Diary details are provided in three components. The first component which is listed on the Matrix Summary is the link to the war diary page and Library and Archives Canada. For example, if you check the 4th CMR you will see this link: WDL. To arrive at the second component of the war diary information you have to go to the specific unit page, such as 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles where you will find if there have been any transcriptions made of the war diary by CEFSG member. The third component would be any additional details extracted by Marc Leroux's computer program by the skillful fingers of Michael Thierens (aka "Grandson Michael"). For complete details of all the war diaries undergoing transcription, please refer to the CEFSG War Diary Transcripts page. For the details of the War Diary Computerized Search, you would visit the Matrix Utilities at WAR DIARY Links, which leads to a specific page for the Canadian Mounted Rifles.

A project component lead by Dwight Mercer (aka Borden Battery) is well advanced as it brings together an extensive list of Recommended Great War Websites. Here you will find the most detailed list of research material available on the Internet, all of which has been cataloged into keytopic areas.

Visit the Borden Battery Blog for the detailed list (updated monthly).

As we noted in our earlier blog posting, we encourage any other Great War enthusiasts to visit the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group web site where you will find all the information to start your research, join the CEFSG Forum, explore the Matrix and become part of the legacy of the Great War Soldiers.

Please join us and help us continue with the Feeding of the Matrix.

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