Story of Smuggler Can Now Be Read Online; NATIONAL LIBRARY: Digital Versions of Valuable Manuscripts Available on Website
Byline: HANNAH JONES
VIRTUAL visitors to the National Library's website can now read the amazing story of William Owen, the smuggler from Pembrokeshire who was hanged in Carmarthen in 1747, aged 30.
This is one of the few manuscripts recording the life of a Welsh criminal and it was either written or dictated by Owen himself as he awaited his execution.
The story of William Owen is included in one of the many valuable and previously little-seen collections held in the National Library which can now be visited online at www. llgc. org. uk/drych/drych_s004. htm as part of the library's drive to make its vast collections available to the public.
With regular hits of more than 300,000 per month, the library's website is already one of Wales's most popular on-line locations.
With additional resources for digitisation from the National Assembly, and investment in new equipment and skilled staff, the library is adding quickly to its digital store.
The collections now included on the library's Digital Mirror are truly impressive.
They include digital versions of such priceless objects as The Black Book of Carmarthen which includes the earliest Welsh poetry, The Laws of Hywel Dda, with its fascinating images of Welsh court life, the first photograph taken in Wales and a large photographic collection, and numerous collections of maps, manuscripts and pictures.
"People can now learn more about the library's collection from the comfort of their own home or office, wherever in the world that may be, " said Andrew Green, librarian of the National Library in Aberystwyth.
"In the past the library would only have been able to allow a manuscript such as the Laws of Hywel Dda to be seen by academics.
"However, with the new technology the library has invested in, not only can any person of whatever background view the manuscript, but thousands can do so simultaneously - something which was impossible until this week. …