Wed, 15 Apr 09 16:48:00
£2m will be allocated from the Assembly Government’s Strategic Capital Investment Fund specifically to digitise 2 million pages of newspapers and magazines relating to Wales. The publications date as far back as the 18th century and covering up to 300 titles from children’s magazines like Cymru’r Plant to popular newspapers such as the Star of Gwent, Tarian y Gweithiwr, Herald y Rhos and the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian. Readers will be able to read first-hand accounts of events like the Chartist march on Newport, the Rebecca riots, early rugby and football matches and vital snippets which could help with vital clues for family and local history.
The site will form an easily accessible teaching and research library for every university, school, college and home across Wales. It will help to address the shortage of online learning materials relating to the culture, history and identity of Wales and will create the largest body of Welsh language material yet published online.
Alun Ffred Jones, Minister for Heritage said: “Newspapers and magazines are a treasure trove of first hand accounts of historic events and often forgotten information about the way we have lived, the food we ate, the books we read and how we felt about politics, religion and family life.
“Whether you are a school pupil looking for information for a homework project or a family historian researching the lives of your ancestors, this resource will offer a unique insight into the social and cultural history of Wales.”
Welsh Newspapers and Magazines Online will further The National Library’s standing as digital innovators and increase the visibility of Wales and its unique identity on the web. Andrew Green, National Librarian, said:
“We are delighted with this announcement, which will take us a step closer to the Library’s ambitious vision to digitise the entire printed memory of Wales and ensure audiences across Wales and around the world can enjoy the mines of information held in the Library’s collection. Through this and similar schemes already underway, we are responding to the new way in which people want to access information – in their own homes at a time that is convenient to them. This project will build on the already extensive work The National Library has undertaken in digitising newspapers.”
The project is expected to be completed and available on-line by 2012. It will add to and complement another innovative project funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, The People’s Collection, which aims to improve access to the wealth of material already available online.
The digitisation programme will be a great asset to researchers, both professional and amateur from local historians and genealogists to teachers and television researchers.
One such television researcher is Ifor ap Glyn, the London-raised producer and director with Cwmni Da production company who has produced the much-acclaimed series about the First World War, Lleisiau’r Rhyfel Mawr (Voices of the Great War).
‘This is fantastic news! Researching for a television series takes up a lot of time. Not only will it be will great to have access at the push of a button to such a vast amount of newspapers from Wales but the search facility will make finding names and events so much easier. It will raise the bar and standards in terms of television research and production from Wales,’ said Ifor ap Glyn, who also produced Cymru a’r Rhyfel Cartref about the Welsh soldiers in the American Civil War which won the Gwyn Alf Williams BAFTA Cymru Award.
Examples of various newspapers already partly digitised by the National Library.
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