A unique collection of handmade books – the life’s work of artist Shirley Jones – is the centrepiece of a brand-new digital service developed by Special Collections and Archives.
Cardiff University Digital Special Collections, which launches today, is free to use and shares rarely seen treasures with researchers, students, schools and the public, for free.
Over 1,700 rare items are already available, photographed in exquisite detail – enabling access like never before to the University’s collections. Many of the items are extremely rare, while others are completely unique to the University.
Archivist Alison Harvey said: “Shirley’s books are usually in private collections, and it’s quite radical to make them available to everyone, for free, online – a lifetime of work, which we’re sharing with Shirley’s blessing.”
“It’s a long way from the greyscale scans of the past: Digital Special Collections is designed to work with other platforms, to create teaching materials, online exhibitions and more. The potential for future research and impact is immense.”
Digital Special Collections will continue to grow as more items are digitised, creating a trove of research material and cultural highlights for book-lovers across Wales and beyond. Other items made available for the first time today include
- unique photographs of students learning trades at Cardiff Technical School in 1898
- handwritten diaries from an intrepid nurse, written during the Spanish Civil War
- retro photographs of student life stretching back to the Victorian period
Head of Special Collections and Archives, Alan Vaughan Hughes explains: “We’re really proud to be the first University in Wales to adopt the IIIF standard. This framework allows the kind of functionality that will transform how we use collections for teaching and research.
“This goes way beyond just putting images on the internet: IIIF means that our collections are now part of an international framework and makes them more accessible globally, to researchers and the public.”
Digital Special Collections can be accessed here: Digital Special Collections