Since 2009 I have been working as Project Manager on the Library’s most ambitious digitisation project to date. The project aims to digitise 2 million pages of the Library’s holdings of out-of-copyright newspapers and periodicals – generally those originally published in Wales up to 1911.
Digitising these popular collections will mean that existing readers and new users will be able to discover and access this magnificent record of everyday Welsh history wherever and whenever it is convenient to them. Worldwide audiences will be able, for the first time, to search for words, names and dates across 2 million pages simultaneously and hopefully stumble across countless nuggets of genealogical information, forgotten incidents and interesting miscellany that would otherwise remain hidden within the covers of heavy and dusty volumes at the Library.
This will be the largest body of digital images and searchable digital text relating to the history of Wales and this project will significantly advance the Library’s ambitious vision to digitise the entire printed memory of Wales.
This 3-year project began in 2009, thanks to additional funding of £2 million from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Strategic Capital Investment Fund, and the Library aims to launch the new digital collection on its website from 2012.
Building the capacity to undertake a digitisation project of this scale has been a significant achievement – for me personally and for more than 30 project staff – and over the next few weeks I hope to give an insight into the many challenges that we have faced as the Library has scaled up its digitisation activities.
Alan Vaughan Hughes