2018: Year in Review – our improvements to Coflein!
At the Royal Commission we are constantly improving our records and resources in order to provide the best access possible to knowledge about the rich historical environment of Wales. Throughout 2018, we have worked to enhance the information on Coflein – our online database and Inventory of ancient and historical monuments – which contains searchable entries for tens of thousands of sites and hundreds of thousands of documents, plans, drawings, photographs and maps.
One of our biggest overhauls has been to our Coflein Mapping system, which has a bold new look and interface fully integrated with the main Coflein site. Our new map allows you to highlight areas in order to view the sites within a particular location, or else to create distribution maps by searching for particular areas or site types. It is possible to view these search results both as a list and on the map, providing greater context for the geographical relationships between sites. It is also possible to view the results on the 2nd edition 25-inch Ordnance Survey map, showing the monuments and buildings in a historical landscape. To find out more about using Coflein Mapping, please visit our helpful ‘Map User Guide’.
We have also been adding thousands of aerial photographs from our recent aerial surveys. These pictures show sites from the air across the length and breadth of Wales in a variety of conditions. These amazing digital images have been catalogued with a full description and allow you to see Wales from a whole new perspective. You can read more about the amazing finds discovered by the Royal Commission’s recent aerial surveys here and here.
Finally, we have been working hard to improve our descriptions of the sites which we include on Coflein. Since spring we have written hundreds of new site descriptions for sites throughout Wales, including war memorials, deserted settlements, medieval churches, inscribed stones, public buildings, public houses, and much, much more. As part of this initiative, during the summer we undertook a review of our descriptions of sites in the Butetown area of Cardiff to coincide with the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay in August, adding new information and images of sites throughout the area. Over the course of the year, a selection of these site enhancements have been collected together into seasonal galleries chronicling our activities. These have now been combined into the gallery ‘Recently Enhanced – 2018’, which can now be viewed on Coflein.
2018 may be over, but 2019 holds many new opportunities for us to continue to enhance our records and your experience of Wales’s rich built environment via Coflein. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please do not hesitate to leave us your feedback. Your opinion will help us to ensure that we are providing the best service possible to the people of Wales and beyond.
Adam N. Coward