Title:Casgliad y Werin Cymru—People’s Collection Wales: Combining Museum, Library, Archive, Broadcaster- and User-Generated Content to Create ‘Wales in a Website’
Authors:Tom Pert, Dafydd James
Publication:MW2011: Museums and the Web 2011

Casgliad y Werin Cymru - The People's Collection Wales is more than just a website, it is a collaborative and federated programme developed by national institutions to tell the story of a nation from the perspective of its people. Drawing upon the memories, photographs, video, audio and 3D resources of national, regional and local archives, as well as user-generated content from groups and individuals, the website is creating a resource that places heritage media in its temporal and spatial context, and encourages  all users not just to view but to contribute and re-use this media in innovative ways.

In the proposed paper, staff from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the National Museum Wales, the National Library of Wales, and the People's Collection Wales' Programme Manager will explain the development of this open-source system which integrates material from organisations with very different business models and data structures, and blends it through its API into a set of geo-aware digital cultural heritage resources that make sense to the end-user.

The speakers will explain the federated management model under which the programme operates, a model that draws upon the strengths of all partners to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.  Speakers will make clear the moderation system that has been implemented to ensure that all material uploaded to the site is legal and can be re-used by others for educational and non-commercial purposes.

The People's Collection Wales has innovation at its core - the site already operates on multiple platforms, with novel tools and apps developed to assist users to create new, and re-use existing resources; the development and application of these will be explored.

  • The StoryBuilder tool allows users to bring together image, audio and video items from the site and repackage them, through an intuitive online movie-maker style tool, into brand new video sequences with their own metadata and spatio-temporal context.
  • Using the TrailBuilder tool, users can create geographical trails with related media located along a route.  Each trail becomes an item in the People's Collection, to be viewed online, printed or delivered to smartphones via the free Trails Cymru app. 
  • The Trails Cymru app itself not only enables the user to access and view trails from the People's Collection Wales system, it is also a tool for creating trails in the field.  Using the app it is possible to record a route, capture geo-located audio, video and images along this route and upload the finished trail to the People's Collection Wales website direct from the smartphone.

The People's Collection Labs provides a showcase area for the most innovative developments in digital heritage presentation in Wales, and acts as a portal for developers to communicate their ideas on webGIS, augmented-reality, laser scanning, visualisation, and all that's new in online presentation of heritage media.  The latest developments arising from the People's Collection Wales' ongoing innovation programme will be explained.

In addition to presenting the paper and attending the various demonstrations and sessions on offer at MW2011, the People's Collection Wales contingent hope to build upon existing relationships and establish new links with the Welsh Diaspora in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.  If the proposed paper is accepted, we hope to organise a workshop event where those interested in the history of Wales and the Welsh in America could become contributing members of the People's Collection Wales, and act as champions for those with an interest in Wales on the other side of the Atlantic.