Tag Archives: Europeana Libraries

Posted - 15-06-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Prose and Novels

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog – ‘Revealing the Objects‘, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of novels and prosaic works that will be digitized as part of the project.

Anna Maria Bennett – Anna, or, Memoirs of a Welch heiress, 1785

Anna Maria Bennett was an eighteenth century Welsh novelist. She spent most of her early years in Merthyr Tydfil. During her life-time, Bennett wrote a total of seven popular novels including ‘Anna, or Memoirs of a Welch Heiress’.

Thomas Jeffery Llewelyn Prichard – The Adventures and Vagaries of Twm Shôn Catti, descriptive of life in Wales: interspersed with poems, 1828

Thomas Jeffery Llewelyn Prichard was a travelling actor and author. Prichard is mostly known for his tale, entitled ‘The adventures and vagaries of Twm Shôn Catti’. The volume was a financial success and was recognised by some as Wales’s first ever novel; a comment that sparked later debate. This 1828 first edition, printed at Aberystwyth, was his crudest version in terms of content and style. It was reformed and improved in two later editions, printed in 1839 and 1873.

Roger Edwards – Y Tri Brawd a’u Teuluoedd, 1869

Roger Edwards was an ordained minister with the Calvinist Methodists; he was also a devoted editor and writer. As editor of ‘Y Drysorfa’ ( 1847-86; jointly with John Roberts until 1853), he made the decision to publish, in serial form, his own novels in the publication, starting with ‘Y Tri Brawd’ in 1866. Edwards’s aim was to allay Methodist suspicion of fictional literature and thus he paved the way for Daniel Owen, who ‘discovered’ the Welsh novel, inducing him to contribute ‘Y Dreflan’ to that journal.

Elizabeth Amy Dillwyn – The Rebecca rioter: a story of Killay life, 1880

Amy Dillwyn was a novelist, industrialist and activist that spent most of her life in her home city of Swansea. ‘The Rebecca rioter’ was the writer’s first novel and is recognised as her best work. It tells the story of a famous attack on the Pontardulais toll gate by the Rebecca Rioters. The novel is written from a rioter’s perspective, and the author’s support to their cause is evident. Amy Dillwyn’s novels also focused on the rank of women in Victorian society, it is no surprise therefore that she was an avid supporter of the Women’s Freedom League.

Daniel Owen – Profedigaethau Enoc Hughes, 1891

Daniel Owen is one of Wales’s most noted novelists. In his childhood he received little education and during his early career he worked at a tailor’s shop. In 1865 Owen went to Bala C.M. College, he did not excel as a student, however he was well read and took great interest in English literature. At the request of Roger Edwards, he contributed his first novel – ‘Y Dreflan’, chapter by chapter in ‘Y Drysorfa’, a Calvinist Methodist publication. Daniel Owen was fond of exploring a Welsh community that revolved around the chapel. However in his third novel ‘Profedigaethau Enoc Huws’ he moved beyond the Methodist seiat and included characters that were on the outskirts of those religious meetings. ‘Profedigaethau Enoc Hughes’ was serialised by Isaac Foulkes in ‘Y Cymro’ between 1890 and 1891. The novel centres on the character Enoc who was raised in a workhouse, but becomes a successful shopkeeper. This comedy tells the story of Enoc’s hopeless love affairs, the peculiar troubles between himself and his housekeeper, and his tumultuous encounters with the Captain Trefor. All of Owen’s publications were significant in the development of the Welsh novel.

Daniel Owen’s second novel ‘Hunangofiant Rhys Lewis, gweinidog Bethel’ will also be digitized as part of the project.

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 08-06-2018

Collections / Digitisation / News

New Blog Series – Revealing the Objects: Digitizing items for Europeana project

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. As a result of this initiative, various users will be able to access a wide range of text based objects, many of which are being showcased on a digital platform for the first time: from manuscripts to printed volumes, periodicals to newspapers.

These items will be explored in various editorial features, all focusing, in one way or another, on the development of literacy in Europe. We as institutions are currently working on a range of curatorial content – from digital exhibitions and blog posts to visual galleries, and these will assess the significance of the text based objects within a pan-European context. The curated features will appear on Europeana Collections from October onward.

This new weekly blog series will reveal the Library’s contributions on a thematic basis. From manuscripts to newspapers, dictionaries to cook books, and children’s literature to ballads; they all have something to offer with regards to tracking the history of literacy. From the iconic to the unexpected, they collectively give a multi-layered summary on the evolution of reading and writing in Wales and beyond, from the mid-thirteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century.

A selection of items: –

The National Library of Wales’s contributions to the project will be disclosed under the following headings in the coming weeks:-

  • Prose and Novels
  • Religious Publications
  • Poetry Volumes
  • Plays and Interludes
  • Ballads, Almanacs and Popular Pamphlets
  • Expatriate Literature
  • Children’s Literature
  • Travel Books
  • Histories and Cultural Publications
  • Folklore
  • Music
  • Political and Radical Publications
  • The Blue Books
  • Cooking and Lifestyle Books
  • Scientific and Mathematical Books
  • Dictionaries and Grammars
  • Newspapers, Magazines and Journals
  • Manuscripts


Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project


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Posted - 13-12-2012


The Researcher of Tomorrow and the end of the Europeana Libraries Project

I’ve just come back from The European Library’s Researcher of Tomorrow conference which took place in Madrid. The conference covered a number of aspects of the challenges and opportunities facing libraries with the advancement of digitisation and the associated development of new methodologies, such as data mining, amongst researchers. Amongst the subjects discussed at conference were the issues surrounding open access, the changing requirements of researchers and the impact that digital libraries are having on research and researchers.  Another major focus for discussion was the future direction of The European Library as a service for researchers.

The conference also marked the end of the Europeana Libraries project, indeed it provided a welcome opportunity to celebrate the achievements of this project and to meet some of the people from across Europe that we have been working with over the last two years. The two-year project, established in 2011, sought to aggregate 5 million digital objects from 19 of Europe’s leading research libraries, including the NLW. As it draws to a close the project has succeeded in this aim with over 5 million digital objects from these libraries aggregated.

The NLW has made a significant contribution to the project providing access to over a quarter of a million digital objects from our collections. These include the Welsh landscape topographical print collection, the John Thomas photographic collection, the Geoff Charles photographic collection, the P. B Abery photographic collection along with 13 nineteenth century Welsh journals. These items can be accessed via the Europeana (for the general user) and The European Library (for researchers) websites.

The latest collections from the NLW to go live on the Europeana website are the P. B. Abery Collection and the Welsh Journals. The Geoff Charles collection will follow shortly. The John Thomas  and Welsh Landscape collections are already available on the Europeana website as well as via The European Library. While you’re visiting these websites why not take the opportunity to explore the other treasures collected from around Europe? Happy searching!

It’s been a particularly rewarding experience to see the project through to a successful conclusion and it’s good to know that some of our most important collections will now be available to a broader European audience. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those in the Library (and beyond!) who have contributed to the success of our involvement in this project.

Doug Jones

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Posted - 13-07-2012


Wales in Europe

Exciting news! 10,000 images from the John Thomas and Welsh Landscape collections can now be searched and viewed via the newly re-launched European Library website. Thanks to our work with the Europeana Libraries project we are one of 19 leading European research libraries who have been added to the list of official contributors to The European Library. Amongst this exclusive group we were the only national library to be brought into the fold. Geared specifically towards the research community, The European Library offers access to almost 10 million digital items and over 100 million bibliographic records from 48 of Europe’s national and research libraries. In the coming months access to the Geoff Charles collection and to a selection of 19th century journals from the NLW’s vaults will also be available on the website. You can also search for these collections via the Europeana website. Happy searching!

Doug Jones

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Posted - 30-04-2012


John Thomas’s family portraits

Jones family group, ca. 1885 (jth01360)

One of the bonuses of working on a digitisation project such as the Europeana Libraries Project is the opportunity it provides to reacquaint yourself with some of the library’s collections. As part of my first job here at the Library, on the desk of the old Department of Pictures and Maps, the John Thomas photographic collection was one that I returned to again and again, as a matter of personal interest as well as in relation to my day-to-day work. Twenty years later I find myself again working with this collection as we prepare them for access through the Europeana and European Library websites.

Primarily a commercial photographer, a mainstay of Thomas’s work was the portrait photograph. While looking through some of Thomas’s family portraits recently, I was struck by how even these formal photographs offer an insight into the social mores and aspirations of the late Victorian period. Two photographs in particular, one of the Jones Family (no relation, as far as I know!) and one of a large family group in Chwilog, brought this home to me.

Large family group, Chwilog, ca. 1885 (jth02068)

The family photograph was clearly an important event for both families and was an opportunity to express the family’s respectability. For the Jones family this is reflected in their formal dress. But what I find of most interest here is the contrast between the clothes worn by the Jones family and their surroundings – the photograph seems to have been taken in a backstreet or yard. The sheet hung behind them provides the illusion of a more salubrious setting; Thomas would crop his photographs so that the final image would seem to have been taken elsewhere, in this case in a drawing room or library.

For the Chwilog family group, with grandparents, parents and children all in their Sunday best, the photo is also a way of displaying their respectability. However, what I find of most interest here is the inclusion of the horse with the family group. The family it seems has taken the opportunity to record for posterity what was of value to them, from the bonds between family members to the well-kept front garden and a prized possession, the horse.

Douglas Jones


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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.

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