As you are aware, it was recently decided to reduce the archive service’s opening hours in 2015 so that we can commit more time to developing and improving our online presence. We feel that this is vital for the service to remain sustainable and relevant in today’s world. It will enable Denbighshire Archives Service to widen its customer base beyond those that visit the searchroom in Ruthin.
Since this new direction was outlined, members of our team have been working to develop a plan for achieving our new goals, with support and guidance from CyMAL (policy division of the Welsh Government responsible for developing policy for local museums, archives and libraries in Wales) and The National Archives.
The following vision statement has been established:
Denbighshire Archives Service will provide the widest possible access to the collections in its care through opportunities presented by utilising digital technologies. An innovative and comprehensive online resource providing modern and efficient access to the service will complement and enhance those provided onsite.
A forward work-plan has been developed to help achieve this vision. Some of our main priorities over the next five years include:
• To launch a new Denbighshire Archives website by the end of 2015
• To have our catalogue of collections published and made available on the new website
• To work on the transfer of paper catalogues into CALM (our cataloguing database)
• To make better use of existing digitised material on the new website
• To seek external funding to catalogue and digitise key material from larger collections, notably the North Wales Mental Health Hospital collection.
This work does not distract us from the service provided to our searchroom visitors. This is still and will always remain an important aspect of the service to us but we now aim to complement this with an online service that reaches different and new audiences.
We hope you have found the update summary useful. We will aim to keep you regularly updated on this and other activities at Denbighshire Archives via our Blog and Facebook pages.