Research Projects

Digital Repository of Ireland

The Digital Repository of Ireland is an interactive trusted digital repository for contemporary and historical, social and cultural data held by Irish institutions. This project is funded by the Irish Government's PRTLI cycle 5 for €5.2M over four years, and started in September 2011.

DRI is the digital infrastructure that will link together and preserve the rich and varied humanities and social science data held by Irish Institutions, and provide a central access point and multimedia tools to research and interact with archived data. DRI will allow the public, students and scholars to access and research the history, cultural heritage and social life of Ireland in ways never possible before. We will also act as a focal point with the community for the development of a National Digital Policy.

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) is an exchequer-funded project with a mandate to build the national trusted digital repository for the humanities and social sciences. DRI funded partners are the Royal Irish Academy (RIA, lead institute), National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), and National College of Art and Design (NCAD). DRI is partnering with the cultural institutions such as the National Archives of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland for example, and we are supported by a network of cultural, public and social data institutions and industry partners.

The DRI was originally funded under the name of National Audio Visual Repository (NAVR).

NIVAL has been engaged in a phased cataloguing of the Kilkenny Design Workshop archive over a number of years. Through its participation in the Digital Repository of Ireland, NIVAL is producing a digital finding-aid for the entire collection, which includes photographic documentation, volumes of press clippings and record sheets, and printed ephemera, and digitising approximately 2,500 of the images held.


Kilkenny Design Workshops: Photographic Image Management Project

Grant aided by the Heritage Council.

In collaboration with the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL), students on the MA Design History and Material Culture programme will be involved in the joint Heritage Council/NCAD funded Kilkenny Design Workshops Photographic Image Management Project. This project aims to arrange, preserve and catalogue the important collection of photographs and slides held within the Kilkenny Design Workshops archive, held by NIVAL.

The State-funded Kilkenny Design Workshops (KDW), established in 1963 by William H. Walsh, served as a centre of excellence in design, proving goods in prototype before going on to be manufactured by Irish industry. Until their closure in 1988, the Kilkenny Design Workshops provided training for young Irish designers, raised the profile of Irish design abroad and increased awareness of the importance of good design in Irish industry and in everyday lives. The collection of over 10,000 slides and photographs provide a valuable record of the work of KDW and this cataloguing project will facilitate greater accessiblity to this important archive.

The MA Design History students will attend a series of specialist training sessions in archival theory and practice delivered by Eneclann, Archives and Records Management Specialists. Guided by Donna Romano and Dr Una Walker of NIVAL the MA Design History students will put their newly learnt skills to immediate use by assisting with the arranging and cataloguing of part of the collection.


Digital Humanities Observatory

The Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO) is a central component within the Humanities Serving Irish Society (HSIS) initiative. The DHO was established under auspices of the Royal Irish Academy to manage and co-ordinate the increasingly complex e-resources created in the arts and humanities. It enables research and researchers in Ireland to keep abreast of international developments in the creation, use, and preservation of digital resources. It fulfills these objectives by:

  • serving as a knowledge base in Ireland via consultations with project partners;
  • recommending national standards to ensure the interoperability, preservation, and long-term accessibility of digital resources;
  • providing access to a wide variety of interdisciplinary, multilingual, and multimodal digital resources created throughout the island of Ireland.

The DHO co-ordinates and consolidates initiatives in humanities digitisation so that new lines of enquiry developing from the HSIS/DHO infrastructure and research programmes will benefit all researchers in Ireland.