Welsh First Minister on digital content for First World War Commemoration

We had an exciting day at National Eisteddfod in the Vale of Glamorgan this week.  First Minister Carwyn Jones called in at the NLW booth for a cup of tea, some bara brith, and a chat about WW1 commemoration. Mr. Jones met with staff from the Library, including Arwel Jones, Head of Public services; President, Sir Deian Hopkin, and myself.  We also welcomed other visitors, including Linda Tomas and Huw Evans from CyMAL; David Anderson, Director of the Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales; and representatives from the HLF and Arts Council Wales.

The purpose of the First Minister’s visit was to announce his plans to mark the centenary in Wales through an initiative led by Sir Deian, which will bring together a group of experts to identify commemorative activities. Digital technology will play a prominent role in these activities, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to tell the First Minister a little more about our JISC project. The fact that ours is an all-Wales initiative, in partnership with all the special collections, libraries and archives of Wales, means that the project will carry out mass digitization of a truly representative sample of material that will contribute to the development of new research, educational resources and community involvement. We will also build an infrastructure for this content that will enable additional material to be added over time, if increased funding for digitisation should become available. The open nature of the project also means that we will be able to make the content available through international initiatives like Europeana. It includes materials that will uncover many ‘hidden histories’, complimenting the inclusive nature of Welsh plans for the commemoration.

As the First Minister said during his visit:

“We must ensure that the stories of our grandparents and great grandparents are made available through digital resources for future generations to better understand and learn lessons from such a transformational event in our history…to make sure the story of Wales and the First World War is captured for all of us.”

We will be sure to keep him informed of our progress…!

With our visitors at the Eisteddfod 2012

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