Royal Commission Archive Collections

Initial thoughts of my new Job at the Royal Commission

Hi, I’m Ywain Tomos and I’ve been working in the Commission’s Library for four months – here’s some initial thoughts about my experiences settling into my new job. The Commission has a unique role and one of the things which attracted me to apply was the importance of the Commission’s work in recording, and interpreting changes in the historic environment in Wales. For over a century, the Commission’s work has ensured that we have a record of important sites and buildings through the Inventory volumes and the National Monuments Record of Wales even though the original sites may have long gone.

Life in the Royal Commission searchroom is never dull

Life in the searchroom is never dull!

I have a research and library background and for me, the work provides opportunities to answer enquiries and manage archival collections. Enquiries are wide ranging and invariably require some detective work in our collections. It has been a real pleasure exploring collections such as the Rokeby Collection of Welsh railway stations. The wonderfully named Rev Hubert Denys Eddowes Rokeby collected postcards of stations, taking his own photographs where he could not find existing photographs. Coming from Meirionnydd, I have also been impressed with the stunning watercolours of the slate industry in the Falcon Hildred Collection.

Identifying sites can be challenging but is always really interesting at the Royal Commission

Identifying sites can be challenging but is always really interesting.

It is clear to me that we provide a service which is not available anywhere else and that we can link our users to other sources through our networks. Being based at the National Library of Wales provides our users and staff immediate access to the documentary heritage of Wales, and already I can see the synergy for users of our searchroom who are able to research NLW collections in one visit.

The opportunities provided by digital records management to provide digital access to original items really interests me and I would like to get involved in the Commission’s work to develop the Coflein and Historic Wales websites to provide additional ways for users to research our collections remotely. Managing copyright issues is an essential part of the Commission’s enquiries work and it can be a real challenge to clarify the ownership of individual items.

My colleagues at the Commission are passionate about their work and I’m very glad that I have the opportunity to contribute my skills to encourage a greater understanding and use of our archival and library collections.

March 2, 2017

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