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DRI Reaching Out: 2021 Connections and Collaborations

14 July 2021

Throughout 2021, the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) has been expanding collaborations with other institutions, broadening our networks, and developing partnerships.

DRI's 2021 outreach work is part of our commitment to providing membership services for Irish institutions looking to benefit from a robust e-infrastructure for data archiving and preservation, as well as a community network for the exchange of ideas, approaches, and best practices in digital preservation and data sharing.

The DRI team combines academic and professional expertise across a range of disciplines and profiles, including software engineers, systems architects, archivists, humanities and social sciences scholars, educators, and information professionals. The team has been engaged in several new outreach initiatives since the beginning of 2021. From joining international networks, participating in committees, and working with other organisations to develop training and professional development opportunities, the DRI team has been working to build connections with the wider cultural heritage, digital preservation, and research communities.

Cultural Heritage Connections

As a digital repository for Ireland’s cultural heritage data, DRI is committed to supporting and contributing to outreach initiatives that seek to connect people through culture. In 2021, DRI’s Programme Manager Dr Lisa Griffith joined the Dublin City Council Culture Company Advisory Group, which seeks to support the creation of ideas and connections for the organisation. The members of the Advisory Group provide feedback on the programme of work undertaken by the Dublin City Council Culture Company and work collaboratively to guide their ambitious cultural initiatives. Dr Griffith is the author of two Dublin histories and is co-editor of two collections of essays on Dublin – she is bringing her considerable knowledge of Dublin’s history and culture to her role in the Advisory Group.

International Outreach Connections

In 2021, DRI Software Engineer Dr Kathryn Cassidy contributed as part of the Open Repositories Host Committee to the management of logistics for registration, scheduling, zoom set up, live streaming, sponsorship, and promotion of the annual Open Repositories conference (7–10 June 2021). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Open Repositories Steering Committee and the Stellenbosch University hosts decided to postpone the in-person conference planned for summer 2021 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and to hold a completely virtual conference instead. The Host Committee successfully reshaped the conference into a virtual one and delivered an exciting four-day programme of workshops, keynotes, presentations, panels, posters, and conversations, now available on the Open Repositories YouTube channel.

The DRI has also been building on our relationship with the Intersections, Feminism, Technology & Digital Humanities (IFTe) Network throughout 2021. The IFTe Network is funded by the UK-Ireland Collaboration in DH Networking Call and addresses a critical challenge in contemporary society and culture: gender imbalance in computational practices and systems. DRI has been working with the IFTe Network to support their goal of developing a more inclusive digital cultural heritage. The DRI Director Dr Natalie Harrower serves on the Advisory Board and the DRI Communications and Engagement Coordinator Dr Áine Madden is a member of the network and contributed as part of the Events Steering Committee to the organisation of a four-part workshop series focused on intersectional approaches to the practice and reading of archives, which took place in early 2021.

Training and Professional Development Connections

DRI is a member of the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), a collaboration between a number of agencies operating in the UK and Ireland interested in the preservation of digital information. We have a long history of collaborating with DPC on digital preservation-related initiatives. Building on this engagement, DRI’s Communications and Engagement Coordinator Dr Áine Madden joined the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) Workforce Development Sub-committee in 2021 where she works with representatives from archives and libraries around the world to provide opportunities for members to acquire, develop, and retain competent and responsive workforces that are ready to address the challenges of digital preservation. Dr Madden also recently joined the LIR Committee, which helps academic libraries in Ireland explore and develop their digital capacity. She looks forward to working with other members from academic libraries and research performing organisations to organise seminars, workshops, and other events which bring this community of practice together.

DRI is working in collaboration with other research performing organisations to encourage skills development within the Irish Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) sector. DRI’s Digital Archivist Kevin Long joined the Digital Scholarship Network Ireland (DSN-IE) in 2021, a national network to support and develop digital and open scholarship. The DSN-IE brings together staff from the Irish GLAM sector and research-active organisations who are involved in the development and delivery of digital and open scholarship services.

DRI also began collaborating with DARIAH-EU in 2021 to widen access to DRI learning resources, such as educational webinars and training videos, by making these recordings available as external learning resources in the DARIAH-Campus discovery framework and hosting platform. The first thematic collection in a series of webinars from the DRI was published on the DARIAH-Campus website in June 2021. The three webinar videos in the series cover the practicalities of using digital archives for academic research in three key areas: Historical, Geographical and Archeological, and Social Sciences research. The DRI has long been committed to supporting early career researchers and we’re delighted that these valuable research resources are now available through DARIAH-Campus. We will continue to work with DARIAH-Campus throughout 2021 to contribute moreDRI training and education resources to the platform.

DRI’s Education and Outreach Manager, Dr Deborah Thorpe, is a member of the OpenAIRE Community of Practice for Training Coordinators, an informal network to share training experiences. Dr Thorpe hopes that discussions within international networks like this will guide the process of expanding on, and making available to wider audiences, DRI’s online educational and training resources.

Collaboration is at the heart of what we do and we have built a significant network by working together with many national and international organisations and e-infrastructures prominent in the fields of digital preservation, digital humanities, social sciences, and data sharing. For more information on DRI collaborations and networks, please visit our Collaborations and Networks page.

Photo by Bruno Figueiredo on Unsplash

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