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Data Guidelines

Online Cenotaph was established by Auckland War Memorial Museum in 1996 and since then we have collaborated with many organisations and individuals to create and enrich the database records. 

Adding machine designed by Gifford Jackson. Collection of Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira.

Adding machine designed by Gifford Jackson. Collection of Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira.

2017.92.1 .CC BY-4.0

Where does our data come from?

Online Cenotaph records are sourced from many places including official Nominal or Embarkation Rolls, private research, family knowledge, user contributions, and published and unpublished primary and secondary sources.

When we receive datasets from external sources the contributors understand that it is our intention to provide this content using a CC-BY licence. Our collection data is made freely available through our public API.

The API allows detailed open access to collection data and is a major part of our 'open by default, closed by exception' approach. Read more about the API at Our data.

How do we cite our data?

Prior to the website redevelopment, in 2014-2015, it was difficult for Online Cenotaph to clearly reference where we had sourced our information from, at least to a field level. We are now able to note information sources for most of their military service. However, we are still limited by the structure of the database.

We make every effort to cite sources, and full citations appear in the Sources section at the bottom of each record. Sources are also included in superscript for the Military Service section of the record.

Where is our data held?

The core data is kept within the Vernon Collection Management System (CMS) and can be downloaded in full through our API.

User-Generated Content is stored within our website Content Management System, Kentico. This data is not publicly searchable but is surfaced on individual record pages and is managed by the Online Cenotaph team.

Legal considerations 

We note that while some of these personnel lists are covered by Crown Copyright and the Privacy Act, Auckland Museum views the republication of these lists as fulfilling a public good that helps Online Cenotaph to be a single authoritative source of information for military research. From a public end-user viewpoint, it is helpful to be able to research an individual’s service in multiple conflicts.

Offering data to Online Cenotaph

Online Cenotaph has worked with a large number of research and community groups to enrich and expand individual records en masse. Being an open public database, public contributions like this are at the core of what we do.

While we appreciate all offers of data, there are some quality and format requirements that must be met before data can be added.

These are some of the basic data requirements:

  • All information must be taken from official or verified sources and the sources must be clearly cited.
  • Data must be in tabular format (i.e., an Excel spreadsheet), with information for each serviceperson on a separate row. Information types (e.g. first name, surname, service number, rank, unit) must be in separate columns, and all columns must be clearly titled.
  • Full names should be provided and service numbers should always be listed where known. First names and surnames should be in separate columns without punctuation or asterixes.
  • Information sources needs to be clearly stated for each serviceperson. If the source is a public institution, the archive name and reference number must be provided. 
  • If data is being provided on behalf of a group or institution, this must be stated along with details for how the group or institution would like to be acknowledged on the online record.

When providing this information you agree to Auckland Museum's Website Terms of Use and understand that your Contributed Content will be redistributed through the Museum's API, where it can be accessed and re-used by third parties unaffiliated with the Museum. Data will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence.

Need more help?

Contact the Online Cenotaph team

Do you have questions about how best to contribute to Online Cenotaph? Contact our helpful staff in the Online Cenotaph team by phone, post, or the Contact Us form:

Pou Maumahara, Memorial Discovery Centre
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Private Bag 92018
New Zealand
Phone: +64 9 309 0443