National Library of Ireland launches new digital catalogue with 10,500 images

24 Apr 2014

The National Library of Ireland. Image via Wikimedia Commons

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) is continuing the push towards greater digitisation of its enormous collection with the launch of a new catalogue of 10,500 historic images.

The newly digitised items includes a portrait of the infamous Ellen Byrne, who was tried for her husband’s murder in 1842 after his badly decomposed body was found in their shared bed; photographs of 1916 leader Tom Clarke, his wife Kathleen and family; and posters documenting the suffragette movement.

This new release means brings the online archive’s image total to 63,000 items that tell the story of Ireland and are now freely available worldwide through the National Library catalogue.

The technology behind the archive, known as the VuFind Discovery Interface, has been developed and lead by the NLI and has seen the open-source viewing software being expanded to hundreds of other similar libraries across the globe, particularly by several large consortia, as well as national, public and academic libraries in 26 countries.

Sara Smyth, the NLI’s digitisation programme manager, said at the official launch of the new catalogue that a lot of hard work is involved in digitising such a massive collection.

“Through this collaboration we enhanced our catalogue, giving researchers seamless access to high quality digital content from any device, anywhere, and enabling them to zoom into the smallest detail of these remarkable items.

“The ability to regularly deliver large quantities of new digital content to our audiences is the culmination of seven years of hard work by the NLI’s team, with much more to come in the years ahead.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic