The National Library of Wales launches new £1 million First World War digital archive

Posted on centenarynews.com on 28 November 2013
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The National Library of Wales has launched a digital archive entitled The Welsh Experience of the First World War.

The project saw the digitisation of archives and special collections of material relating to Wales during the First World War.

More than 200,000 documents including letters, newspapers, photographs and journals have been digitised for the project.

Education Minister Huw Lewis described the new £1 million archive as an "invaluable resource" which will be "widely used for education and research purposes, especially as we approach the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War".

Mr. Lewis continued that the archive "will contribute greatly to the First World War commemorations in Wales by providing a comprehensive online facility for all sectors of education, local and family history researchers".

"Tremendous benefit"

Historian Dr. Paul O'Leary of Aberystwyth University has used the resource to prepare an online exhibition (The First World War and the Industrial Valleys). 

Dr O’Leary praised the project, saying that “it would have taken many years in the archives to find these resources and bring them together in a way that demonstrates the impact of the First World War on south Wales. Having the digital archive freely available will be of tremendous benefit for research and teaching”. 

"Important and unique initiative"

The Welsh Experience of the First World War was developed as a collaborative initiative led by The National Library of Wales.

It worked in partnership with - and sourced material from - the Archives and Special Collections of Wales, whose membership includes Cardiff University, Swansea University, BBC Cymru Wales and archives and local records offices that are part of ARCW: the Archives and Records Council of Wales.

The total cost of the archive was £1 million, with a £500,000 grant from the Jisc e-Content programme as part of their work in support of education and research.

The National Library's Chief Executive and Librarian, Aled Gruffydd, stated that the National Library was "proud" to have led "this important and unique initiative" and paid tribute to Minister Lewis, the Jisc and partner institutions, "without whom The Welsh Experience of the First World War could not have been delivered".

To visit the archive, click here.

Source: National Library of Wales press release

Date of press release publication: 28/11/2013

Images courtesy of the National Library of Wales

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News