Conservation & Digitisation
The Conservation Unit at the National Library of Wales is responsible for the conservation and preservation of the analogue materials held by the Library, including the tithe maps.
Conservation treatment includes the repair of damaged maps and the strengthening of fragile ones. Without this specialised intervention, many of the vulnerable maps could never be digitised or presented to readers.
There are around 1,200 tithe maps to digitise as part of the Cynefin project. Digitising the maps has posed a considerable challenge as they can be very large. Some of the tithe maps are 2m x 3m or even larger in some cases.
The National Library therefore had to think of a creative solution to digitise the tithe maps, as their biggest scanners weren’t large enough to digitise over 60% of the maps. The solution was to create a custom set-up using a curved magnetic wall and a digital camera. The map held in place on the curved wall using strong magnets, and is digitised in parts by using the digital camera. The images are then reconstructed into a complete map using editing software.