Posted - 10-07-2014 No Comments

ArAgor / Collections

A great start for #ArAgor

There was a great response to our #ArAgor research project when it was mentioned in my presentation at Digital Innovation Week Wales event in Cardiff on Monday. The project looks at how we demonstrate and measure the value and impact of sharing digital collections openly.

Some have asked for more details about what we are looking for. Here are some types of information that would be of interest:

  • examples of ways in which digital collections (single items, sets or whole collections) have been used after being freed of restrictions (e.g. derivative products or works, applications or services based open collections);
  • outputs of research into the open access business model and how it compares with more closed models;
  • ways of demonstrating the value and impact of making digital collections open (e.g. measuring and – if possible – putting a value on brand exposure and reputation)
  • tools or approaches to finding out how digital collections are being used once they have been made open (e.g. reverse image searching)

Please let us know if you have any information to share with us! You can comment on the blog posts, tweet using the #ArAgor hashtag, or you can email us at

Posted - 07-07-2014 No Comments


Pennant’s ‘History of Whiteford and Holywell’

Picture 013


The Library recently acquired a very fine copy of Thomas Pennant’s History of Whiteford and Holywell  1796. Of all his topographical works this is, to my mind, the most intimate and personal. He begins the volume talking of his mansion Downing as the place where he ‘first made entrance into this busy world’. What follows is a piece of delightfully understated family history and legend which leads us into the main theme of the text.
Pennant had the ability to portray his subject in vivid prose, so when combined with the polished watercolours of Moses Griffith any work would be a success. In this volume, purchased at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 19 June 2013 (lot 200) we have a revelation: it includes full page watercolours signed and dated by the artist almost every time as 1795. The watercolours were produced on single sheets then pasted into the volume, forming extra-illustrations to the text. This method of illustration, known as Grangerisation was very popular at the period and the Pennant volume represents a high point in that craft. Although curious to say there is one page (after p122) which bears a watercolour by Moses painted directly on the bound paper. Things are never straight-forward with Pennant.
Why am I so excited by this volume?  Because it is clear evidence of  the patronage of Moses by a contemporary of Pennant. We know that the artist undertook commissions for individuals but here we can study how that was constructed. I will leave the quest for that patron for someone else but say that Moses’s contribution to antiquarian works of the late 18th century in Wales was immense. Now we can study this volume beside the Downing copies, produced for Pennant himself and perhaps find some answers.

Dr Paul Joyner

Posted - 06-07-2014 No Comments

ArAgor / Collections

Research project measuring the value and impact of open digital collections kicks off!



What is the impact of sharing digital collections openly? What value is open access generating for the user, for wider society and the economy and for the organisation sharing its collections? How can the value and impact of open digital collections be measured?

These are some of the questions that we’ll be seeking to answer in a research project entitled #ArAgor launched as part of the National Library’s research programme.

If you are also interested in discovering answers to these questions, and if you have any experiences, information or evidence that may contribute to this project, please join us by including #ArAgor in your tweets and posts on this subject or contacting us on

Posted - 04-07-2014 No Comments

Reader Services

History of the Welsh regiments in World War One

The centenary commemoration programme to remember World War One has already began in Wales and further afield. During the next few years it has been anticipated that more and more people will have an interest in this area, therefore, we decided to place a series of books on the open shelves in the North Reading Room in order to help the researchers. The three Welsh Regiments will probably be of most interest to our readers – The Welsh Regiment, The Royal Welch Fusiliers and The South Wales Borderers. The series of books outlining the history of the regiments and their work during World War One, with additional works relating to other Welsh battalions are now on the shelves. I’m sure that there will be many more works produced on the subject over the next few years and we hope to add them to the series. If you have any suggestions for publications we should add please let us know.

Beryl Evans
Research Services Manager


Posted - 26-06-2014 No Comments

Reader Services

Responding to our users comments

We have responded to comments for a more streamlined service when using newspapers at the National Library of Wales by making it possible to access all formats of newspapers in one reading room.
You can now view original copies, microfilm copies and access our new resource, Welsh Newspapers Online, in one dedicated area in the South Reading Room. Staff are on hand to assist you in your search, and to help you to use our new interactive touch table to access Welsh Newspapers Online.
Call in to see us!

Carol Edwards, Head of Reader Services

Posted - 23-06-2014 No Comments


The Fly Fisher’s Legacy

Picture 269After several attempts the Library succeeded recently in purchasing a very rare item that has been on our wants list for many years. It is a copy of The Fly-Fishers Legacy, containing accurate descriptions of all the principal natural flies … by George Scotcher. This volume was published in Chepstow and printed and sold by M. Willett. Although it is undated experts believe that 1810 or 1819 are possible publishing dates. It is bound in a later travel pocket style binding with front fold over flap and has hand-coloured engraved specimen frontis plates. This copy is copy is extra illustrated, possibly by the noted angling collector J.C. Lynn, and interleaved with 13 leaves containing 23 mounted fly specimens. The Fly Fisher’s Legacy is one of the rarest books in angling literature.

Picture 270It is known that there are copies held at Harvard, Yale and Princeton. No doubt that there are a few other copies in private hands. It was the first angling book to contain a coloured plate illustrating some of the insects imitated by anglers. Also it was the first angling book devoted entirely to fly-fishing. Once this item has been accessioned it will be available to readers interested in this field of study to enjoy as well as to carry out further research. I am glad to say that another small but significant gap in the Library’s holdings has been filled.

Gwyn Tudur Davies

Posted - 17-06-2014 No Comments


Chaucer: the story continues!

The pilgrimage is at an end, the covers are gently closed, and our popular exhibition on Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales has finished.

Are you one of those who missed the opportunity to see the show, or did you think of returning for another look, and left it too late? Fear not, for the Library’s exhibitions now have an extended life on the web.

A short film was created to coincide with the exhibition, and we can think of no better way to re-visit Canterbury than in the company of a curator, and from your own comfortable chair in the twenty-first century.





Posted - 16-06-2014 No Comments

News and Events

Welsh Newspapers Online: 100,000 new pages go online

The National Library of Wales is pleased to announce that over 100,000 new pages have been added to Welsh Newspapers Online.


Welsh Newspapers Online is a free online resource from the National Library of Wales where you can discover millions of articles from the Library’s rich collection of historical newspapers.


Welsh Newspapers Online now lets you search and access over 725,000 pages from over 115 newspaper publications and will grow to over 1 million pages as more publications are added during 2014.


The recent update includes new publications such as Y Tyst, Welsh Gazette and Herald of Wales, not forgetting early editions of Seren Gomer (1814-1815). Seren Gomer was founded by Joseph Harris in 1814 and was the first Welsh language weekly to be published in Wales.


Welsh Newspapers Online is part-funded by the Strategic Capital Investment Fund and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.


Tags: ,

Posted - No Comments


Dylan with a difference

On Saturday 28th June 2014, we are so excited to present to our visitors the largest and most comprehensive Dylan Thomas expo as part of the centenary celebrations. Although it has been years in the planning, things are really starting to take shape as we work on the set build and installation over the next couple of weeks!

Visitors will be able to see a variety of original items from the National Collection including photographs, archives, manuscripts, film and art  – some of which have never before been exhibited. The  items will feature in these 4 exhibitions:

  • Dylan: Occupying the prestigious Gregynog Gallery, this multimedia exhibition is a journey into Dylan’s world – a world of poetry, stories, plays and extensive musings – guided by Dylan’s words.
  • Dylan Comes Home: A special exhibition of manuscripts and photographs on loan from The Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, New York.
  • Weak or Strong?  The Art of Dylan: Artwork by Dylan, of Dylan and inspired by Dylan.
  • Ach y fi, Ach y fi: A Play for Vices: Visual artists Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts interpret the dark and mischievous world of Dylan.

Our exhibition team have been working very hard on installing the exhibition which will include a few ‘surprise elements’ and innovative ways of bringing the Dylan Thomas collections to life. Had enough of Dylan Thomas already? Wait till you see what we have in store for you!  Here are a few tasters to whet your appetite…

coronation street     tafarn

Posted - 11-06-2014 No Comments


Weak or Strong?

On this day in 1936, The International Surrealist Exhibition was opened at the New Burlington Galleries in London. During the course of the Exhibition lectures on subjects such as ‘Art and the Unconscious’ and ‘Biology and Surrealism’ were delivered by celebrated surrealists that included Salvador Dalí, André Breton and Hugh Sykes Davies. Dalí’s lecture was delivered whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit, (to ‘plunge deeper into the subconscious’), who very nearly suffocated.

Dylan Thomas also attended the International Surrealist Exhibition, and whilst there decided to take part. He carried around a teacup of boiled string, asking visitors whether they liked it “weak or strong?”

Although Dylan declared in a letter to Richard Church in 1935, “I wasn’t, never had been, never would be, nor never could be for that matter, a surrealist”, it’s impossible to deny his interest in the Arts. He seemed to gravitate to artistic ‘types’, and was often dabbling with pencils, pastels and paintbrushes himself.

Dylan’s question at the Surrealist Exhibition has inspired an exhibition here at the Library, which will showcase artwork by Dylan, of Dylan, and inspired by Dylan from the National Collection. ‘Weak or Strong?’ : The Art of Dylan will be open to the public between 28 June and 20 December 2014, and feature as part of our Dylan centenary celebrations. The exhibition will feature works by artists such as Mervyn Levy, Alfred Janes, Ceri Richards, Peter Evershed and Dylan himself.


'Dylan Thomas, San Remo N.Y.', © Peter Evershed

‘Dylan Thomas, San Remo N.Y.’, © Peter Evershed

Darlun gan Dylan Thomas / Doodle by Dylan Thomas © David Higham Associates

Darlun gan Dylan Thomas / Doodle by Dylan Thomas © David Higham Associates

'Dylan at Laugharne', Mervyn Levy © Ystâd Mervyn Levy / The Estate of Mervyn Levy

‘Dylan at Laugharne’, Mervyn Levy © Ystâd Mervyn Levy / The Estate of Mervyn Levy














← Older Posts Newer Posts →


Archived Posts

About this blog

A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

Due to the more personal nature of blogs it is the Library's policy to publish postings in the original language only. An equal number of blog posts are published in both Welsh and English, but they are not the same postings. For a translation of the blog readers may wish to try facilities such as Google Translate.

About the blog