A Crowdsourcing Platform for Wales

Collections - Posted 15-02-2017

The Library is grateful to Welsh Government for funding this innovative project and in particular to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates AM, for his vision and support for the platform

During the next few months the National Library of Wales will be embarking on an exciting new project to develop a crowdsourcing platform for Wales. This platform will allow the Library to engage with online volunteers across Wales and beyond to improve access to a wide variety of our most treasured collections.

The Library’s Volunteering Programme is going from strength to strength and was recently awarded the Archives and Records Association’s Archive Volunteering Award for 2016. Given its success, we have been looking at ways to increase volunteering opportunities and, in particular, opportunities for remote volunteering outside the Library building. NLW has been involved in several innovative crowdsourcing projects to date where hundreds of digital volunteers have helped us to improve access to material online. The Cymru1900Wales project saw online volunteers transcribe the names of places from historic OS maps, while over 900 remote and on-site volunteers have contributed to Cynefin to geo-reference and transcribe the tithe maps of Wales. We have also been working in partnership with projects such as Wales for Peace to crowdsource the transcription of the National Book of Remembrance for the First World War.

The Library will be working with Digirati to develop a bilingual platform that can be customised and used across a wide variety of our collections. We hope to create a platform that is as flexible as possible so that it can support many different tasks and types of content. We may wish, for example, to ask volunteers to identify people, places and events depicted in the Library’s vast photographic collections, or to transcribe and tag key information contained in a handwritten manuscript, archive or printed volume. One of the projects we hope to set up will ask volunteers to transcribe the Cardiganshire Great War Tribunal records. These records provide fascinating insights into why Cardiganshire men may have sought exemption from military service during the First World War. Working with volunteers to tag, identify and transcribe such material will give readers greater access to these collections, making them easier to search and more useful for research.

The platform will be built on open standards, most notably the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) and the W3C Web Annotation Data Model, to facilitate sharing and reuse. We hope that, once completed, it can be offered to other organisations across Wales and internationally who may wish to run similar projects on their own collections.

Keep an eye on the Library’s blog and social media for updates over the next few months. More information about the platform can also be found on the Digirati website.

Rhian James

Project Manager

This post is also available in: Welsh

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

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