Sheffield academics create a vivid virtual world

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A GROUNDBREAKING Sheffield University project is to open a vivid window on the past - through a fascinating new virtual world.

Academics from the School of English Language, Literature and Linguistics are creating the life story of Ola Nordmann, a Norwegian peasant emigrating to America in the 1880s. As Ola leaves his home near Voss in western Norway to set off on the long journey to a new life in the midwest of the United States, the public will be able to interact with him and follow his progress.

From Voss to the port of Bergen, Ola will set sail for Hull. From there he will travel across the north of England by train to Liverpool to catch a steamship to New York.

The project will start in March, and run for 20 months.

The team are using the extensive historical materials available in the British Library, the Norwegian National Library in Oslo and the West Norwegian Emigrant Centre near Bergen to create the Ola Nordmann Goes West virtual world.

The public will be able to comment on Ola’s experiences as he travels.

Project manager Professor Andrew Linn said: “We hope the project will be informative and entertaining. We anticipate engaging with a lot of individuals with an interest in the project’s content and its design.”