The collections viewer [Universal Viewer] used by the National Library of Wales has been shortlisted in two prestigious awards and is among the finalists of the Tech4Good Awards 2020 and the OpenUK Awards 2020. The Library’s work on Wikidata has also reached the shortlist of the Open Data category of the Open UK Awards.
The Universal Viewer, used by the Library as a window to its collections, has been shortlisted in the Arts and Culture category in the Tech4Good Awards and the Open Source Software category of the OpenUk Awards 2020.
The development of digitisation in recent years has provided cultural institutions such as the Library with the potential to open up their collections to audiences world-wide, but challenges arise as to how to make this knowledge accessible online. The Universal Viewer is a direct response to this challenge. Through the viewer, the Library and other organisations are able to provide access to high resolution, zoomable images of some of the nation's most valued treasures and audio-visual content.
Originating at the Wellcome Library in 2012, the Universal Viewer is a community-developed open source project whose mission is to share content with the world, and is now used by hundreds of institutions, including the British Library, National Library of Scotland, University of St Andrews, V&A, BFI and of course The National Library of Wales.
For users, the benefits of the Universal Viewer include a clean and friendly interface for viewing, downloading, embedding and sharing content, making access to cultural heritage materials a convenient and user-friendly experience. Benefits for these institutions are numerous, such as standardised IIIF support to share digital content, and the National Library is proud to be part of this highly successful initiative.
The Library, as one of the partners of the Universal Viewer Steering Group and with its Head of Web Design and Development acting as chair, has contributed to the co-development of this tool. This group ensures the continual development and improvement of the viewer, providing a unified strategic direction and ensuring its sustainability.
The Library is also on the shortlist in the Open Data category in the OpenUK Awards for its work with Wikidata. The Library has worked in partnership with Wikimedia UK since 2015 and has delivered a number of Wiki projects with the support of Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Unit. The work of the Library’s National Wikimedian has included converting collection metadata to Wikidata for a number of collections, ranging from paintings to print material. This work has led to the enrichment of data, allowing the exploration of collections in new ways and the linking of items with other information.
Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian said:
“Digital technology plays a central role in the life of the Library and ensuring new and effective ways of accessing our collections will be key to realizing a new strategic plan for the next 5 years. I am proud that the contribution of the Library and its staff in these important areas is recognized in prestigious awards such as this.”
Illtud Daniel, Head of ICT said:
“Adopting the Universal Viewer for displaying our digital content has been transformative for us and our users, and I am delighted with the contribution of Library staff in guiding the development of this international project, with particular focus on its support for multiple languages and the wide range of collection types we offer.”
Dafydd Tudur, Head of Access and Public Programmes said:
“We’re very pleased to hear that these two initiatives have been shortlisted for these awards. Our work with both the Universal Viewer and Wikidata have stemmed from our commitment to make data more accessible and the use of open access to improve access to our collections online. They also highlight the value of working with other organisations and communities to overcome challenges and develop new solutions for the benefit of users.”
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**Mae'r datganiad yma hefyd ar gael yn y Gymraeg**