Blog - Events
Just days after the National Library announced they were employing the Uk’s first, and world’s second, permanent Wikimedian I travelled to Montreal in Canada for Wikimania – the largest annual Wikipedia conference.
As the name suggests this is an exciting event, bringing together Wikipedians from all around the world, along with hundreds of ‘Wikimedians’ people involved in other Wikimedia projects such as Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons.
Before the main conference got underway I embraced my inner geek and attended the first day of the Wikimania Hackathon. As the National Library of Wales begins to open up its data to the world, we hope we will soon be hosting our own hackathons, inviting developers and programmers to develop new tools, apps and even games, powered by Welsh cultural heritage data.
So taking part in the Wikimania Hackathon was a hugely valuable experience. There were some great outcomes, from improvements to Wikipedia itself to a colour blindness simulator for digital images. So keep your eyes peeled for Welsh Hackathons soon!
Day two was the Wikipedia Medical Conference. In remote parts of the world Wikipedia is the only source of medical information for millions of people, including doctors! In a sector dominated by English language information, Wikipedia provides a platform for health related content in local dialects.
I spoke at the Medical conference about the National Library’s upcoming Wici-Iechyd (Wiki Health) project, aimed at providing free access to important health information in Welsh on Wicipedia, and I had some great discussions with the Wiki project Medicine team about how we can best achieve our goals, and about how they can support our project.
Day three marked the official start of the Wikimania conference, which was opened, as is traditional, by Jimmy Wales himself. With the recent banning of Wikipedia in Turkey, Jimmy was keen to highlight the importance of free access to impartial and accurate information.
The conference schedule was diverse with many threads running simultaneously. I took part in many workshops and informal discussion groups about Wikipedia’s relationship with the cultural sector, known as GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) in the Wikiverse.
What struck me was the range of projects taking place around the world, from volunteer projects aimed purely at improving Wikipedia content about a GLAMs collections, to long term wiki collaborations. The National Archives and Records Administration of the United States, the only other institution with a permanent Wikimedian on their staff, has agreed to share all their digital content with Wikimedia on an open licence. They have already uploaded 130,000 images and frequently run events and outreach programmes aimed at making use of these images, and improving Wikipedia generally.
As the conference progressed I was surprised by the number of volunteers and Wikimedians who now look to Wales, and to the National Library of Wales as role model and an inspiration when running their own projects. This was particularly true of those working with small or minority languages.
Our success in engaging the Library, volunteer communities, the Welsh government and partner organisations with the Welsh language Wikipedia has been noticed by many, and I had some fantastic conversations with Wikimedians from Russia, Finland, Estonia, Brittany, and more, about how we can learn from each other to ensure our languages are able to thrive on Wikipedia and other online environments.
I presented a poster session on the Wikimedia UK residency at the National Library and there was plenty of interest in the work we carried out, and how we achieved our outcomes.
As with last year’s Wikimania, Wikidata sessions were hugely popular. This massive linked open data resource is growing rapidly and offers huge potential for GLAMS to share and develop open data for their collections. Many GLAMS, including the National Library of Wales are already sharing data with Wikidata, but we heard from Beat Estermann of E-Government Institute of the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland that Wikidata is now being used to enrich library catalogues, and I think this method of drawing open data into core library metadata offers some exciting opportunities.
Another big theme of the conference was the planned development of Wikimedia Commons, the website which hosts millions of freely licenced images used on Wikipedia and beyond. The metadata behind these images will be converted to structured (linked) data making it far easier to search, analyse and visualize this massive media archive.
The National Library of Wales has innovated in this area, with the help of it’s Wikidata visiting scholar, by converting detailed image metadata to Wikidata, a very similar data structure to the proposed Commons data, and I have been invited to advise the development team as the new website takes shape.
Despite the dominance of the English Wikipedia, the Wiki movement is truly global, and that was reflected clearly at Wikimania. What is exciting is that the National Library of Wales is at the forefront of this movement, employing new tactics, technologies and techniques to make sure Wales is properly represented online and to ensure that the Welsh language Wicipedia continues to grow and to build upon its status as the most viewed Welsh language website on the web.
This month, musician Dr Lyn Davies talks about his love for art as part of our #LoveArt campaign.
“David Griffiths captures Arthur’s intellect but also his vivid imagination and creativity. Arthur was a colleague of mine at Aberystwyth University and I have fond memories of him.”
His second choice is ‘Arthur Giardelli’ by David Griffiths, 1993
This weekend the Nanteos Cup will return to Strata Florida Abbey, where, according to tradition, it was kept by the Cistercian brothers before Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monastries campaign which began and which was implemented by the merciless Thomas Cromwell. It seems that the lands and various chattels belonging to the Abbey were sold to the Steadman family, who in tern and through family links, passed the Cup on to the Nanteos family who kept in the manion for many centuries.
What use was made of the Cup at the Abbey is still a great mystery. It is very unlikely that the Cup was used as a communion cup because we can be fairly certain that the Abbey’s communion cup would most probably have been made of silver – as was was the Cymer Abbey communion vessels, discovered by accident by walkers many years ago. However – if the traditions and legends surrounding the Nanteos Cup are fairly accurate – the Cup was definately used during ceremonies at the Abbey.
As we are about to open the ‘Arthur and the Welsh Mythology’, exhibition one has to ask whether the legend linking the Cup to the ‘Holy Grail’, an object which has been such a central theme in the Arthurian legends, is indeed true?
You are welcome to visit the Library to view ‘The Holy Grail’ of Nanteos.
Pedr ap Llwyd
Director of Collections and Public Programme
King Arthur is arguably Wales’ most successful international export.
The National Library of Wales has long been a thriving centre for Arthurian studies, based on its unrivaled collections of source materials – both manuscript and printed – from the medieval period to the present. A high point in this designated ‘year of legends’, will be next month’s opening here of a new exhibition devoted to Arthur and Welsh Mythology (Hengwrt and Gregynog Galleries, 22 July-16 December 2017).
The Hengwrt Gallery exhibition will show-case some of the Library’s greatest Arthurian treasures, from the enigmatic warrior’s earliest appearances in Welsh literature to his kingly ‘conquests’ of an European stage by means of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth-century History of the Kings of Britain. Presenting materials in Welsh, Latin, French, Cornish and English, this exhibition will demonstrate how a character of humble origins captured the imaginations of a continent, and became the most famous of all kings.
Highlights of the season include:
• the short, passing reference to Arthur in the Book of Aneirin, possibly his earliest appearance in any work of literature
• the dramatic double-appearance of his fearsome henchman, Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr (‘the brave grey one of the mighty grasp’) in the Black Book of Carmarthen and White Book of Rhydderch
• Arthur’s central role in Geoffrey’s History, the foundation for later multi-lingual legends of the ideal king and his retinue, by one of Wales’ most successful authors.
Finally, the exhibition will also consider Arthur’s last, and greatest battle. Fighting against Mordred at Camlan may well have presented a challenge, but the defence of Arthur’s very existence against mounting scepticism by historians of the Tudor period was a very different struggle.
Your very presence in this exhibition may determine who won that last battle!
Maredudd ap Huw
Curator of Manuscripts
The Welsh Wicipedia becomes gender neutral.
The Welsh Wicipedia has become one of the first Wikipedia’s in the world to offer as many articles about women as it does about men.
Historically Wikipedia has struggled to attract female editors, who make up around 15% of Wikipedia contributors globally, and this is reflected in the imbalance of content being created.
Addressing this gender imbalance has been a strategic priority for Wikimedia for some time and Wikimedia UK has been working with partners in Wales to help put things right.
The National Library of Wales, have been partnering with Wikimedia UK for several years have been doing their bit to encourage more Women to edit Wikipedia.
Last year the Library took part in the global Art and Feminism Edit-a-thon, which takes place in hundreds of locations around the world. This was the first time the event was held in Wales.
This year the Library’s Wikimedian in Residence will be helping a Machynlleth community group to run their own Art & Feminism Wikipedia event.
The library’s award winning volunteer team has also been getting stuck in, with 10 women volunteers now contributing weekly to Wikipedia projects.
The fact that the Welsh language Wicipedia exists at all is testament to the resolve of the people of Wales not just to preserve the Welsh language but to see it flourish, but a Wikipedians work is never done! Why not give editing a try?
A new project will focus on improving Welsh language Wikipedia coverage of the Welsh Pop Music scene.
The Welsh Wicipedia contains around 90,000 Welsh language articles and the Wikipop project aims to add 500 more articles in a bid to record and enrich the written history of the vibrant Welsh music scene.
Source: Wikimedia Commons CC_BY. Attribution Silvio Tanaka, 2009.
January marks two years since the National Library of Wales first appointed a Wikipedian in Residence. In those two years the Library has helped to train new Wikipedia editors who have created hundreds of new articles, and the library has lead the way in promoting open access to Welsh cultural heritage.
15,000 digital images from the library’s collections have been shared on an open license via Wikimedia Commons and library images used in Wikipedia articles have now been viewed nearly 200 million times.
Now, with the help of a grant from the Welsh Government and in collaboration with Wikimedia UK, the National Library is embarking on a 3 month project to create and improve Welsh language Wicipedia articles about Welsh pop music.
The aim is to create 500 new articles using a variety of methods including an outreach program and a series of ‘edit-a-thon’ events which will encourage people to write new content.
Members of the public and organisations will be encouraged to share information which may already be available, and coders and the National Library will trial automated creation of Wikipedia articles using data.
If you would like to be involved in this exciting new project, please get in touch.
Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales
The Screen and Sound Archive is celebrating! Today sees the launch of
around 150 great films from the collection online on the BFI Player for
everyone to enjoy for the first time. The films reflect all sorts of
aspects of Welsh life over the 20th century, and have been digitised
through the support of the BFI with National Lottery funding. There will
be coverage of the launch, the Archive and the significance of the
digitising project - 'Unlocking Film Heritage' - on the media today,
including 'Heno' on S4C and the BBC.
Take a look at the films - click on the map of Wales on
… or in the Rugby Club at Pontarddulais, to be exact – our destination on Wednesday night by kind invitation of Don Treharne and Clwb Cinio Glannau Llwchwr, to present a programme of films by early cinema pioneers, the Haggar family. They had close connections with the area, and their films most of the audience had heard about, but not seen.
Many of the locations look the same today as they did when the film was shot in 1914, eliciting the occasional frisson of recognition in the audience as the story unfolded.
In Iola’s introductory talk, she contextualized the film within Haggar’s own life story and his development as a significant early film-maker. Likewise, Paul did a great job of forewarning the audience about the appearance of stray dogs and flapping curtains – all par for the course in the pioneering – or rather, make-it-up-as-you-go-along nature of early film shoots.
On the night, there was a warm, relaxed atmosphere at the Rugby Club, that of a community coming together to enjoy a traveling show perhaps not unlike those of Haggar’s Bioscope in the same town, a century ago!
Over the years I have been in communication with a few of the sound archives, National Libraries in the UK and Ireland; as part of my college course (2007 – 2008) and in dealing with issues and problems with collecting music.
I was asked , by Dafydd Pritchard – NSSAW Manager, if I would like to attend the BISA 2012 training day/conference at Norwich. I readily accepted the offer and together with Dafydd and another work colleague Rhodri Shore made arrangements to attend. It would be held at the Norwich Archive Centre from the 18th to the 19th of May 2012.
Most of Thursday the 17th of May was spent travelling by train from Aberystwyth to Norwich, arriving at Norwich late afternoon. After finding the hotel, checking in and freshening up, and looking out of the window seeing the navy warship looking straight back at me …
We made our way to meet some of the BISA committee members at a local tavern. One positive from conferences such as this one is that you meet face to face people who’ve communicated with or at least heard the names of. At the tavern I was introduced to Jonathan Draper, Will Prentice and Simon Rooks from the BISA committee. After others joined us we made our way to a local restaurant to meet other BISA members. After the meal, since the BISA committee wanted to hold a meeting, myself and Rhodri made our way to a local music venue to enjoy an acoustic evening.
Friday morning after a full breakfast we made our way to the Norwich Archive centre along the riverfront passing boats and barges moored on the river . We had been informed that the Archive was situated behind the 1960’s Eastern European looking building and that the Archive was guarded by a military plane:-
The training day was made up of an introduction, six presentations and a BISA general meeting. BISA website itinerary ….
The introduction was given by the head of the Norwich Archive,
Dr John Alban who described how the present archive, rose out of an horrific fire that destroyed the above ground site in 1994, where the East Anglia Film Archive and the Norfolk Sound Archive are located together in the same building.
The first presentation was given by Jonathan Draper senior archivist at the Archive. Through the use of sound clips and a powerpoint presentation Jonathan illustrated the Archive’s wealth of sound items from World War Amercian Airforce personnel oral history to local shoe making industry history to modern day multi-cultural research documentary into Islam in Norfolk. Jonathan mentioned the archive’s digitisation ethos and the three levels of cataloguing:- collection level, skeleton and the use of volunteers.
The second presentation was given by Richard Ranft of the British Library. His presentation involved an overview of the British Library’s ongoing project of digitising sound items and publishing them online. So far 50,000 tracks had been transferred digitally and he mentioned the problem solving of ongoing issues and hindsight viewpoint of the different archival sound recordings of the closed access memnon produced initial project of 2004 – 2007 and the wider open access, inhouse produced project running from 2007 until 2012. By using sound clips such as the dialects of England map interface and the J.R.R. Tolkien linguaphone; Richard highlighted the tasks involved in digitsing and the challenges those presented ranging from 1:1 master reproduction to sound enhancing and clic removal to the copyright, ethical rights, mulitiple performers and geographical access problems.
The morning was brought to a close with the BISA’s annual general meeting where the ever evolving BISA directory was directed towards being a virtual signpost to member sound collections.
Lunch was a cold buffet within the archive. Most members stayed within the conference room and I took the opportunity to speak to a few of the delegates such as the representative from the Manx National Heritage, the Tobar an Dualchais and RTÉ .
The third presentation was a personal classification of delegate Delaina Sepko’s musical collection using genre and popular music terms/tags. Delaina used examples of American rap artists utilising the National Libraries of Canada Rules for Archival Description. Genres are labels and categories that can produce a frame of reference increasing the locating of an item stressing that genres as musical conventions are not absolute. If two factors are used together 1) the production notes of music such as compositional and songwriting elements as well as 2) discourse of reception and music relationships used by the listener can achieve a better understanding of the scope and content for genre qualification.
The fourth presentation was given by the curator of the UK Data Archive, Richard Deswarte. I have to admit that I did not know of this resource’s existence. Richard mentioned that the Archive has been in existence in some form since 1967 and is funded by government bodies. The main function of the archive is to store and act on numerical and statistical data. The service is primarily used by researchers utilising Qualidata (qualitative research methods such as multi-media interviews, focus groups, oral histories ) and history data service that houses 650 data collections. Richard apologised that there were only about 50 audio items. Although the Archive is based at the University of Essex , researchers nationally and internationally use the service using password account registration.
The fifth presentation involved the work of the British Antartic Survey. Joanna Rae gave an outline of the survey’s two main sound sources:- a) oral history and b) science data audio “whistler” collections. Two interesting sound clips were broadcast involving air bubbles exploding from a block of ice and a seaman aboard the RSS Bransfield at the time of the Falklands conflict. Limited digitisation had been carried out. Yet again challenges and factors impacting the sound archive environment were voiced by the Survey staff .
The last presentation of the day was given by Richard Ranft, this time Richard discussed the European wide aggregator of metadata/search engine project Europeana. The resource was launched in 2008 resulting from a 2005 European digital resource initiative. Today it provides access to 23 million digital items from 33 countries in 29 languages using a faceted search. Of these items only 2% are audio and only 1% are of video. Richard gave a breakdown by country that had linked to the portal. Both benefits and weaknesses of the aggregator were highlighted involving user experience, integrated data (as strengths) whilst metadata inconsistency and differing digitisation standards (as weaknesses). Entry for ingesting items to the portal was controlled by five main aggregators in the UK.
The formal day finished and it was arranged to meet at a local public house for informal discussion and networking.
The second morning was less structured . Janis McAnallen of the BBC gave a powerpoint on the BBC’s metadata information flow at the BBC. This involves taxonomy production and management controlling that flow within the organisation. By using Fabric digital archive system and holding cross departmental review the commanality of data was determined. An example was illustrated using the Doctor Who (brand) – series – programme – version. The relative term, broad term of relationship categories were flagged as positive outcomes of taxonomy and that controlled tags were the preferred labeling of items.The delegate members were split into two groups and given the same task of producing a taxonomy of sounds. This exercise certainly excercised the mind in categorising different sounds of household, human, people, animals and war.
A short presentation given by a staff member from the East Anglia Film Archive gave a worrying thought of the day – regime changes, change of government and the future of archives. This was followed by a tour of the Archive building by Dr John Alban showing the storage areas, the preservation suite and the public user areas.
All in all a very informative two days at the Norfolk Archive. The conference was positively useful on two levels:-
1) The different presentations – form the formal to those less formal. Much information was gleamed.
2) To discusses formally with delegate members at the Archive and then to pursue some topics over informal chat whilst eating at locations around Norwich.
The conference has given me the confidence and reassurance that we, at the Screen and Sound Archive, are not alone in respect that small archives and national institutions are facing the same issues and problems that we face. I will be using the contacts, the information gleamed to enrich my work in the future.
This week will be very busy for us here at the Archive. Here’s what’s going on..
A special edition of welsh TV programme, Pethe, will be broadcast on S4C at 9:30pm. Produced by north Wales based production company Cwmni Da, the programme looks at two films made in 1936 and 1938 telling the story of the Bandits of Mawddwy and made by the people of the Dinas Mawddwy area.
In an evening organised by Cwmni Da and the Archive recently, ths films were shown in the Dinas Mawddwy village hall. It was very well attended and went down well.
The director of the programme was Angharad Griffthis, and here, she gives an insight into the films.
We’ll welcome Sian Williams, from the South Wales Miners Library here to the Drwm to do a talk on the Library’s audiovisual collection. The talk is part of a series of events to celebrate the Archive’s 10th anniversary. The talk will start at 1:15, and tickets are available free of charge from the Library’s shop.
As part of the Library’s Outreach programme in Newtown this year, we will be screening the film The Last Days of Dolwyn (1949) at the Regent Cinema at 7:30pm. The film follows the threat of building a resevoir that would drown the fictional village of Dolwyn, in order to supply water to Liverpool. We will also screen local archive films from the Newtown area. Tickets for the screening are available free of charge by phoning the Library shop on 01970 632 548.
So enough to keep us very busy this week!
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