A £2.2m initiative to help businesses in the creative industries exploit a unique digital collection of cultural heritage to drive innovation and strengthen competitiveness has been announced. Led by the National Library of Wales, the Digitisation for Business scheme aims to provide companies across West Wales and the Valleys with a tailored service to help them access the largest repository of bilingual digital cultural heritage relating to Wales.
The Library’s collections include books, manuscripts, archives, maps, pictures and photographs as well as films, music and journals – much of which is being made available digitally, including over 2 million pages of nineteenth century newspapers.
Welsh businesses, particularly SMEs involved in TV, music, film and new media, will be coached by digitisation experts to harness this digital content in a bid to develop new products, services and technologies which, in turn, could help them win new contracts. There will also be support for companies involved in professional family history/genealogy and translation, as well as artists, and craft industries who may benefit from access to designs such as for pottery and textiles.
The four-year scheme is backed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, along with resources from the Library.
Announcing the scheme, Deputy Minister for European Programmes, Alun Davies,‘Supporting business to develop new opportunities using digital content will stimulate growth in this exciting sector. I am pleased we have been able to invest EU funding in this initiative which will help companies adapt and respond to the opportunities of digitisation to achieve commercial success'
‘Delivering a Digital Wales outlines our goal to make Wales a truly digital nation where everyone can access digital technologies and information, and acquire the skills to make the best of them.’
Through the Digitisation for Business service, specialist advice and knowledge on a range of issues will be available from copyright and licensing, through to digital capture, digital storage and preservation to searching current resources. Information will be disseminated through training sessions and events. It is expected that through this activity a cluster of companies will be established who can collaborate on projects and share expertise to help secure further contracts.
Amongst the activities that could get underway through the scheme include the development of applications that will facilitate access to content such as historical newspapers and the exploitation of newly-digitised data by researchers and journalists to create television and radio productions.
Librarian Andrew Green, said,‘The National Library of Wales’s collections are of huge cultural significance and value. They are also a source of untapped economic potential. The Digitisation for Business scheme will enable us to provide a dedicated service to companies in the Convergence region, helping them take advantage of our expertise in digitisation. This will, in turn, strengthen their local and global competitiveness, with the additional benefit of making the national collections held by the Library more widely accessible.’
LinksWelsh European Funding Office Welsh Government For Further InformationBusinesses interested in more information on the services that can be provided through the scheme can contact: David Michael on 01970 632855, or Pedr ap Llwyd on 01970 632952