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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 19:44 GMT
Historical secrets on the web
The National Library of Wales
The National Library of Wales is involved in the project
Previously closely-guarded collections of Welsh history are now available for web users to research and browse through.

A wealth of information, including details on mining in the south Wales coalfield to explaining something of the political and cultural life of Wales in the last two centuries, are available on the web.

The Manic Street Preachers
The Manic Street Preachers are part of the recent cultural scene in Wales

The three collections and a gateway web site being made were launched at the Welsh Assembly on Thursday.

It is hoped the venture, called Projecting Wales, will mean thousands of people will be able to access material, some of which had only been available to academics and enthusiasts.

The National Library of Wales, the universities of Swansea, Cardiff and Bangor, and academic and public libraries have come together to launch the project.

Welsh Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said: "Wales has a long and distinguished political and cultural heritage of which we can all be proud.

"Making these valuable collections available online gives everyone the opportunity to learn more about Wales and Welsh history, wherever they are in the world."

The minister has congratulated the organisations which have worked together to bring about the new online service.

David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George was an MP for 50 years and first became PM in 1916
Funded by the Research Support Libraries Programme of the Higher Education Funding Councils and by the British Library Co-operation and Partnership Programme, Projecting Wales boasts three collections and a digital gateway on the web.

Andrew Green, Librarian at the National Library of Wales, said the project had shown what could be achieved by working in partnership and by opening up the 'knowledge of Wales'.

He said: "They (the projects) pave the way for the ultimate goal, a set of linked online systems that enable anyone to find information resources - printed, archival or online - in Wales."

Sion Jobbins, from the National Library of Wales, said family historians, teachers, and students would find the site a valuable tool.

Medieval Welsh book
Medieval Welsh books can now be accessed online

One site, Wales 1801-1919, is aimed at bridging the gaps before collections were officially catalogued through the library system.

Mr Jobbins said people interested in Welsh history may have travelled miles to libraries to find out particular details, but now they could find what they are looking for via the web.

He said the beauty of the new system was that specific collections can be accessed in a project which draws together a massive amount of material. The collections can be found by accessing:

  • Mine of Information. Led by the University of Wales in Swansea and is funded by the Research Support Libraries Programme. This site features catalogue records for archives and printed books which are in partner institutions. The site also holds the records in different databases at the University of Wales, Swansea and enables cross-searching.

  • Collections Wales. A bilingual online database of descriptions of research collections in Wales and it also has links to websites of relevant external organisations in Wales, the UK and overseas. The site also includes photographs and information on printed materials as well as information on the research holdings of the National Library of Wales.

  • Wales 1801-1919. A joint project between the Welsh Higher Education sector and the National Library of Wales. It has upgraded catalogue records for the University of Wales and other libraries and has combined them in a central online catalogue. The site aims to inform on the cultural and political life of Wales at the time of the Industrial Revolution. It also includes information on Welsh life in the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century.

  • Wales on the Web. A bilingual site aimed at attracting anyone interested in finding out more about Wales on the World Wide Web. It includes details on how to access sites from Welsh pressure groups to Welsh pop groups.
  • See also:

    05 Sep 02 | Wales
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