Blog - Events

Revivals Exhibition in the Senedd

Collections / Events / Exhibitions - Posted 11-04-2022

The Library provides an exhibition each year for the St. David’s Day Prayer Breakfast in Cardiff.  This special event is organised by a group of Christian members of the Senedd from different parties, and the guests include members of parliaments from across Europe, church and chapel leaders, and representatives of a number of Christian organisations.

The theme of this year’s Prayer Breakfast was “Revivals”.  The earliest item in the exhibition was Llythyr ynghylch y ddyledswydd o gateceisio plant a phobl anwybodus (1749) by Griffith Jones, who was responsible for establishing thousands of circulating schools in order to teach people to read the Bible.  There was a close connection between these schools and the efforts to persuade the SPCK to provide Bibles in Welsh.

Two letters, giving an account of a revival of religion in Wales by Thomas Charles of Bala were published in 1792.  The time of spiritual awakening recounted by Charles led to the founding of the Bible Society, and the exhibition also included the first edition of the Welsh Bible published by the Society in 1807.

In order to reflect the international aspect of the theme, we showed Hanes llwyddiant diweddar yr Efengyl, a rhyfeddol waith Duw, ar eneidiau pobl yn North America (1766), a translation by William Williams, Pantycelyn of a pamphlet describing the spiritual awakening in America two years earlier.  Also included in the exhibition were the autobiography of Ben Chidlaw (1890), a Welshman who emigrated to America but was also involved in the 1839 Revival on a visit to Wales, and The revival in the Khasia Hills (1907), the history of the Calvinistic Methodist foreign mission in India.

Two manuscripts from the 1858-9 Revival were shown: the diary of Dafydd Morgan, Ysbyty, and a letter from John Matthews of Aberystwyth.  The item which attracted most interest was Evan Roberts’s Bible, which he had with him when working as a miner.  The Bible was partially burnt in an explosion in 1897 which killed five of his colleagues.  This led to his conversion, described in the diary of the Rev. Seth Joshua, which was displayed beside the Bible.  Evan Roberts became the leading figure of the 1904-05 Revival.

It was a privilege to display these treasures from the Library’s collections in the foyer of the Senedd and discuss them with the guests.  In creating the exhibition I sought to recount the work of God through a number of revivals in Wales, as well as revivals in other countries which have either had an influence in Wales or benefited from the contribution of Welsh missionaries.

 

Timothy Cutts

Rare Books Librarian

The Welsh Political Archive Annual Lecture 2021

Events - Posted 10-11-2021

This year’s Welsh Political Archive annual lecture was held on Tuesday 2nd November. Last year’s lecture had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 restrictions and replaced it with an online discussion panel, so Professor Paul O’Leary’s lecture was long awaited.

2020 was the first time in its history the lecture had to be postponed, and this year was the first time it was held outside Aberystwyth. The Senedd in Cardiff Bay was the venue for the 2021 lecture, entitled Lloyd George, Empire & the Making of Modern Ireland.

As Paul O’Leary noted Lloyd George had been active during his early career in campaigns for Welsh home rule and as chancellor had given financial support to the National Library. It was therefore fitting that the National Library should hold a lecture on Lloyd George at the Welsh Parliament.

Ireland had played a role in Lloyd George’s career since his election to the UK Parliament in 1890; he was passionate about home rule and was inspired by the Irish land agitators but the British Empire was central to his worldview. Paul O’Leary argued that while he sympathized with unionists in the north he believed that the United Kingdom was a nation of different nations but he did not see the countries of Britain, Wales, England Scotland and Ireland in the same way as the dominions such as Canada and Australia. Giving Ireland similar status was a step too far.

The Irish Consul General in Wales was watching the lecture remotely and the Llywydd of the Welsh Parliament, Elin Jones was in the audience.

The lecture was followed by interesting questions and a very useful discussion and a vote of thanks was offered by Dr Sam Blaxland, a member of the Welsh Political Archive Advisory Committee.

It is intended to publish on the pages of the Welsh Political Archive (along with previous lectures) on the Library’s website in the near future.

Rob Phillips
The Welsh Political Archive

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Discussing the Future of Political Archives

Collections / Events - Posted 10-11-2020

The Welsh Political Archive annul lecture has been part of the National Library’s calendar for 30 years with a mix of politicians, journalists and academics having delivered the lecture over the years. However, due to the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it wasn’t possible to hold the lecture this year, even though all the arrangements had already been made.

But every challenge is also an opportunity and so we decided to try something a bit different; an on-line panel discussion using Zoom to bring together creator and users of political archives to discuss their experiences and ideas.

I was privileged to chair the session, which brought together the journalist Elliw Gwawr, former First Minister Carwyn Jones MS, Professor Richard Wyn Jones and Liz-Saville-Roberts MP for Dwyfor-Meirionydd.

We had a fascinating discussion for just over an hour on a mix of questions which I’d prepared and questions submitted by the audience; some of which dealt with serious issues and others touching on lighter subjects. We looked at the role of archives in the age of social media, ensuring that we properly record the stories of all the communities of Wales, which movements we need to make sure we record and what ideas or items would best tell the story of 2020.

The session is available to view (in Welsh) on the Library’s Facebook page and we’ll be preparing versions with English and Welsh subtitles to be made available alongside the annual lecture during the next few weeks.

 

Rob Phillips
The Welsh Political Archive

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WiciPics

Collections / Conservation / Digitisation / Events / News and Events - Posted 20-10-2020

A new crowdsourcing project aimed at documenting the built heritage of Wales through photography and Wikipedia articles.

The National Library of Wales is once again teaming up with Menter Iaith Môn, with funding from the Welsh Government language unit, to deliver this exciting new project.

Wales has thousands of important listed buildings, from great castles built by the Welsh princes to churches, stately homes and terraced houses. In Wales there were once more seats in chapels than there were people to sit on them and now those chapels are disappearing fast. We also have more modern buildings which need documenting, such as hospitals and health centres, schools, libraries and sports facilities.

 

For this project we are asking you to check out what needs photographing in your area. If you are out walking the dog, running, cycling or just stretching your legs after that Sunday roast just take your phone or camera and snap a few shots for us along the way.

 

These images will form a new collection at the National Library of Wales and will be made freely available for reuse on Wikimedia Commons, so that they can be used to improve Wikipedia articles. Wikipedia is a fantastic platform for us to collaboratively record and share our local history and recent studies have shown that having good quality Wikipedia articles can help to significantly boost tourism.

 

We are not looking for professional quality photographs, or fancy stylized shots. Just simple documentary images which you can snap on anything from a DSLR to your mobile phone, so everyone can get involved, from Grandma to the Grand kids.

As part of the project we are even planning on working directly (remotely) with schools to get kids snapping buildings in their area and then we will teach them how to use those images to improve relevant Wikipedia articles.

 

Contributing to the project is easy. An interactive map will show you all the places that need photographs in your area, and our video tutorial will talk you through the simple upload process. So please, check out what needs photographing in your area, and register today to ensure that your images are included in our new digital archive.

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Wikipedia Translate-a-thon

Events / News / News and Events / Research - Posted 11-10-2019

To celebrate Libraries Week the National Library hosted a Welsh language Translate-a-thon for students at Aberystwyth University hoping to pursue a career as translators. The goal was to translate existing English Wikipedia articles about famous writers into Welsh. The event was part of a wider WiciLlên project, funded by the Welsh Government and aimed at improving online access to Welsh language information and data about literature and the Welsh bibliography.

The National Library of Wales’ National Wikimedian helps the library support and contribute to Wikipedia. The Welsh language Wikipedia has been the focus of this work since collaboration began in 2015. The Library and its main funder, the Welsh Government have recognised the importance of this hub of Welsh language knowledge in building a sustainable and thriving future for the Welsh language – Welsh Wicipedia is already the most viewed Welsh website and now has over 100,000 articles. However there is still lots of work to do in order to give access to ‘all knowledge’ in Welsh.

The Library has been working with the Professional Translation Studies course at Aberystwyth University for several years, building on the idea that using Wicipedia’s content translation tool for perfecting translation means students can actively contribute to the improvement of freely available Welsh language content whilst studying, giving real value to their assignments.

Coarse leader Mandi Morse says: “We are delighted to be able to take advantage of the Wikipedia platform while teaching the postgraduate Professional Translation Studies course. It gives our students great experiences as they develop their translation skills, giving them the opportunity to practice translating all kinds of subjects and contexts. Wikipedia is certainly extremely useful and enriches our provision”

12 students attended the event at the National Library, and 9 new articles were created. In many cases, making information about these people available in Welsh for the first time. New articles include German novelist Gerhart Hauptmann, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1912 and English Children’s author Joan Aiken. You can find a full list of articles created are available on Wikimedia.

We hope to facilitate similar events in the future in order to support the improvement of Welsh language content online and to encourage Welsh Universities to think about how they can do the same.

Jason Evans

National Wikimedian

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Smartify at The National Library of Wales

Collections / Events - Posted 08-10-2019

 

In early 2018, to coincide with the launch of the Kyffin Williams: Behind the Frame exhibition, the Library began collaborating with Smartify, a company who had developed a smartphone app for use with in-house exhibitions in museums, galleries and libraries worldwide.

It is an app that allows visitors to scan items on display at the Library with their smartphone to receive further information about it or about the creator of the work. The app is simple to use and free to download from the iOS and Google Play store. What is special about the app is that it gives you context surrounding the item and therefore enhances the users’ experience.After scanning an item, it is possible to save it in a personal gallery so that you can view the digital image or read about the item once you get home.

One of the Library’s items featured on the app is the original copy of the Welsh National Anthem ‘Hen Wlad fy Nhadau’. After scanning an opening in this manuscript, not only will you be able to view interpretive information about the item but you will also have the opportunity to listen to the first known audio recording in Welsh, when the singer Madge Breese was recorded by the Gramophone Company, singing the anthem on 11 March 1899. The app certainly offers our visitors a new and interactive experience in today’s digital world!

Since the Library began collaborating with Smartify almost two years ago we continue to increase the number of items from the Library’s collections that are included on the app and ensure that all the information about the items is available in Welsh and English.

Next time you visit the Library remember to look out for any items on display with the Smartify logo beside them and give the app a go!

For further information on how to use the app visit our Smartify page

Bethan Rees

Digital Access

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The WiciLlên project

Collections / Events / News / News and Events / Research - Posted 10-09-2019

Sharing data and information about Welsh literature with the world

The National Library of Wales working in partnership with Menter Iaith Môn for a second time has secured a grant from the Welsh Government for the WiciLlên project, in order to deliver an ambitious project focused on openly sharing information about Welsh literature on the Wikimedia projects.

The project will consist of two main strands. Firstly the National Library will begin sharing a huge dataset of all books of Welsh interest ever published in Wales. This dataset contains information about nearly half a million books, their authors and publishers.

As part of the WiciLlên project the first 50,000 of those records will be enriched and shared as linked open data on Wikidata. The data will be searchable and reusable in dozens of languages, including Welsh. This will improve access to this important dataset, help improve citations on Wikipedia and provide opportunities for developers and researchers wishing to re-use the data.

The second strand of the project will focus on improving content on the Welsh Wikipedia. The National Library will deliver a Hackathon event and a series of Wikipedia editathons, whilst Menter Môn’s Wikipedian in Residence will deliver events for school children of different ages.

Nia Wyn Thomas, who heads Menter Iaith Môn said: “It’s a privilege, as always, to work with Wikimedia UK and the National Library to enrich open content in Welsh through the skilled hands of Anglesey’s children. Over the period of the collaboration, we are proud of the work that has been achieved, and the impact of the work around developing children’s digital competency through the medium of Welsh, be it their first, or second language. The influence of the work on the development of the Welsh language is also great, in a field where the language is not always seen as progressive”

The project has already started and will run until March 2020.

Jason Evans

National Wikimedian

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Wikimedia and the culture sector – A new impact study.

Collections / Events / News / Research - Posted 16-05-2019

In December 2017 the Library’s National Wikimedian began work on a Welsh Government funded project to improve the quality of information about people related to Wales on the Welsh language Wikipedia.

The entire project was planned using Europeana’s new Impact Playbook with the aim of exploring and document the changes, or impacts, to different stakeholder groups of delivering a range of Wikimedia based activities focused around collections at The National Library of Wales.

A full impact report for the project has now been published.

The Impact Playbook works by creating clearly defined change pathways with measurable outcomes (or changes) during the planning process, insuring that a wide range of outcomes and desired impacts can be assessed and measured at the end of the project.

This is the first time a project focused on Wikipedia based activities has been assessed in this way, so this was a great opportunity to explore and document the impact of working with Wikimedia in the culture sector.

The project focused around the release of 4,862 Welsh portraits to Wikimedia Commons, with an emphasis on improving access to Welsh language content and providing opportunities for the public to engage through the medium of Welsh.

Bilingual Wikidata was created for each portrait. This data was used to help create nearly 1,500 new Welsh Wikipedia articles, utilizing 25% of the images. The images generated 1.6 million page views in 55 languages in the space of a month, greatly increasing access to information about Welsh people.

Working with Menter Iaith Môn, a series of events were held at schools highlighting how Wikipedia-based learning can contribute positively to schools’ targets for the Welsh language and digital literacy.

A ‘hackathon’ event demonstrated the value of open data to the creative industries in Wales and a number of use cases were documented.

The project demonstrates how working with Wikimedia can help cultural heritage institutions build and support new communities and achieve outcomes which align with their core values whilst increasing access to, and use of, their digital collections.

Jason Evans

National Wikimedian

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Launch of the new UK web archive

Events / News - Posted 08-04-2019

Last month marked 30 years since the invention of the World Wide Web. Fortunately, the National Library of Wales and its partners have been archiving Welsh websites and preserving this history for generations to come.  As a result, at the end of last year, the new UK Web Archive website was officially launched. This new site is a response to changes made to Legal Deposit legislation following the passing of the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-print Works) Regulations in 2013 meaning Legal Deposit now encompasses electronic and online material such as websites, blogs, e-magazines and materials on CD-rom.

The purpose of the UK Web Archive is to collect, preserve and give permanent access to key UK websites for future generations. The 2013 Regulations presented the Legal Deposit Libraries with a huge challenge as one of the requirements is to archive the whole UK Web Space. As with previous UK Legal Deposit Acts, primarily dealing with print material, legal deposit of online material only extend to items published in the UK.

Furthermore, due to the 2013 Regulations, the scope of our collecting substantially increased. For instance, the UK Web Archive collects many millions of websites and billions of individual “assets” (html pages, images, pdf’s, video’s etc.). Since 2017, the UK Web Archive has collected approximately 500TB of data. At least once a year, the British Library performs an automated “crawl” under the terms of the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations 2013 to capture as many UK websites as we can identify. This will result in further substantial increases in the huge amount of data that we now collect.

The National Library of Wales and our Legal Deposit Libraries partners, led by the British Library, had been archiving websites from 2003 to 2013, but this was a permission-based model. In order for us to archive a website we needed prior permission from the site owner. Because of the new Regulations, we no longer need permission to archive a site if it is published in the UK.

As for access, the site is viewable from here. However, under the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations 2013 access to much of the archived content is restricted to a UK Legal Deposit library reading room. Therefore, you will see a ‘viewable only on Library premises’ alongside many descriptions to archived websites directing you to one of the UK Legal Deposit Libraries for access.

The UK Web Archive aim is to provide ‘open access’ to as many of these sites as possible therefore we are still contacting owners of websites requesting permission for us to open up access to archived versions of their websites. For instance, we already have an arrangement for a number of years with the Welsh Government allowing us to provide open access to their growing list of websites.

Of course, the UK Web Archive will continue to expand and develop over the coming months and years. The UK Web Archive is one of many initiatives undertaken to successfully respond to the new Regulations and the challenge that the Digital black hole presented to us as Libraries. Now the site is live, we hope to increase interaction with our users. For instance, a feature of the site is Special Collections and if you would like to see content included in one of our special collections or provide general feedback on the UK Web Archive then please get in touch. We will be very happy to hear from you.

Aled Betts,

Acquisitions Librarian

The Welsh Political Archive Annual Lecture 2018

Collections / Events - Posted 06-11-2018

Last Friday, 2nd of November, The Welsh Political Archive Annual Lecture was delivered by The Revd Dr D. Ben Rees at Y Drwm, The National Library of Wales. The lecture is delivered in Welsh every three years, and the title for this year was ‘Camp Aneurin; y Gwasanaeth Iechyd Gwladol’ [translated as Aneurin’s triumph; the National Health Service in English].

The lecture was an opportunity to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the National Health Service and to acknowledge the magnificent achievement of Aneurin Bevan in all this. With all the tickets sold out before the evening, a great lecture was delivered by D. Ben Rees who traced the relationship of the Minister for Housing, Health and Local Government with the Tredegar Medical Aid Society which gave him a socialist vision to create a National Health Service.

This was the thirty-second public lecture in a celebrated series instituted in 1987. The previous lectures include Lord Kenneth O. Morgan, Lord Roberts of Conwy, Professor Angela V. John and Menna Richards.

Although he has spent the last 50 years in Liverpool, Dr Rees is a native of Llanddewi Brefi, Ceredigion, and is one of the most prominent preachers of his denomination. In addition, he is a well-known lecturer and broadcaster, and is an author of over 70 publications in Welsh and English.

He published a biography in Welsh on Jim Griffiths in 2014, a volume which was well-received as it was the first in Welsh to encompass the life and career of one of the most important political figures in Wales in the second half of the 20th century and the first Secretary of State for Wales. A sister volume was published last summer, which was a comprehensive biography of another political giant in 20th century Wales, Cofiant Cledwyn Hughes.

Interesting questions and a good discussion were had following the lecture, and a vote of thanks was proposed by Rhys Evans, Head of Strategy and Education at BBC Wales, who is a member of The Welsh Political Archive Advisory Committee which met earlier that afternoon.

The lecture is now published on the pages of The Welsh Political Archive (together with lectures of the past fifteen years) on the Library’s website, and a recording of the lecture forms part of The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

D. Rhys Davies
Assistant Archivist, The Welsh Political Archive

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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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