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#CrowdCymru: Project Update

Hi everyone, it’s Jen here, Digital Volunteering Project Offer for #CrowdCymru.

Well, what a busy few months it’s been since my introductory blog post [read it here] back in August! Firstly, I’ve  been working hard to get the word out about the project and have already had it listed on Adult Learners’ Week, Black History Month Wales and Digital Preservation Coalition websites. We’ve also been featured online for S4C’s Newyddion  and will appear in the January issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine.

I presented at the Archives and Records Council Wales Forum on 7 November at Aberystwyth University and received some very positive feedback and interest. Plus, I was able to spend the whole day there and heard some wonderfully inspiring talks from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Ceredigion Museum, National Library Wales, and North East Wales Archives.

I am scheduled to deliver online presentations to Digital Communities Wales, Aberystwyth University Archives and Records Management and Genealogy students, and Gwent Archives online speakers’ series. I’ll also be out and about during Explore Your Archives campaign week; I attended an event at Glamorgan Archives on 30 November, and will be at Carmarthenshire Archives on 6 Dec. Maybe I’ll see you there!

We now have a Twitter account, @CrowdCymru, where we promote our progress, highlight collections and foster support for other archive, library, museums, and heritage accounts. So far, we’ve tweeted for Black History Month, World Mental Health Day, Adult Learner’s Week, World digital Preservation Day, Remembrance Day, and #ILoveToWrite Day. One of our tweets featuring a portrait of an exceptionally well-dressed young man called Samuel Sawyer, from the Cardiff Dockland Community Collection, did exceptionally well gaining 116K impressions, 95 retweets and 169 likes.

Samuel Sawyer, Cardiff Dockland Community Photographs Collection, Glamorgan Archives

The project partners have decided to launch the digital platform for the volunteers to begin working on in January. For the remainder of this year, we suspect that most people will be busy during the festive calendar and it was thought they would be more eager and primed to start something new at the beginning of a New Year rather than at the end of one.

So, what digital collections will our volunteers be working on in January? This will be somewhat of a moveable feast; as the project progresses, some collections might appear and then be removed if no interested is generated and replaced with something new.

The first three collections to work on will be from Cardiff University Special Collections & Archives.  Firstly, the Edward Thomas Archive, one of the lesser-known war poets killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and mentioned in the first blog post.

Letter from the Edward Thomas Archive,
Cardiff University Special Collections & Archives

The second collection consists of the war time diaries of the Honourable Priscilla Scott-Ellis (1916-1983); daughter of the 8th Lord Howard de Walden, Priscilla was brought up in Belgrave Square and at Chirk Castle. During the Spanish Civil War, she supported the Nationalist Army fighting the Popular Front government as a volunteer nurse.  Editing her diaries, covering this experience for publication was interrupted by WWII during which she volunteered at a Field Hospital in Northern France. Her diaries range from 1934 through to 1941 and entries also cover living in London during the Blitz. Both collections will be made available for transcribing, while the third collection will be for tagging and identification.

This is the Cardiff University Institutional Archive, a visual memory of students and staff going back to 1883, almost 1000 photographs charting university life including sections on staff, students, academic schools, and the interiors and exteriors of buildings.

Cardiff University student 1970s,
Cardiff University Special Collections & Archives

I’m very much looking forward to getting started with the volunteers in the New Year, I’ll be sending out registration forms first and then scheduling in some training sessions for small groups where I can go through the workings of the platform and explain tasks step by step.

In the meantime, I wish you a very happy festive season!

Jennifer Evans
Digital Volunteering Project Officer / Swyddog Prosiect Gwirfoddoli Digidol      
Twitter: @CrowdCymru
Phone 01495 742450
Email jennifer.evans@gwentarchives.gov.uk

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