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Archiving Reproductive Health - Final Achievements

12 January 2024

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) is pleased to celebrate the achievements and final outputs of the Digital Preservation Award-winning Archiving Reproductive Health (ARH) project (2021-2023).  

Archiving Reproductive Health (ARH) is a Wellcome Trust-funded project coordinated by the DRI, which has preserved digital material created by grassroots organisations working for reproductive justice in Ireland, especially during the 2018 referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution. It ran from 2021 to the end of 2023 and involved collaboration between DRI staff members from all three partner institutes – the Royal Irish Academy, Trinity College Dublin, and Maynooth University.

Archiving Reproductive Health has published collections from key organisations that were involved with the campaign, and a range of oral history interviews with feminist and reproductive rights activists working in Ireland over the last forty years. In September 2022, Archiving Reproductive Health won a Digital Preservation Award in the category of ‘Safeguarding the Digital Legacy’.

The collections the project created are safely deposited in the DRI Repository for long-term access.

Before finishing, ARH published some last outstanding parts of its Core Collections. These include the full extent of the Together for Yes collection, including a wide range of photographic and video content, organisational documentation and data such as regional tally numbers.

Additional material was added to the Abortion Rights Campaign collection, including photographs and reports.

The project’s final publications include the Guide to Collections and the Project Report.

The Guide to Collections lists the ARH collections available in the Digital Repository of Ireland, provides brief descriptions of each collection, and the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), a permanent online link, for each collection. The guide may be useful for researchers and educators in the fields of social science, women’s history, ethics in qualitative data, and the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum) sector.

The Project Report describes the contextual background to the ARH project, the first voluntary archiving initiatives after the 2018 referendum, and the development and structure of Archiving Reproductive Health and its main achievements. It has two appendices, the first a report on the technical research carried out during the project, and the second a registry of additional data identified by ARH for potential future archiving.

ARH has succeeded in preserving part of the historical record around grassroots reproductive rights activism in Ireland, especially around the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. It is our hope that this project will inspire other social movements to invest in their archives, both digital and physical. We have made all our publications open access in order to provide guidance to similar projects in the future, especially in the areas of copyright, data protection and anonymisation.

Feature Image: Renee Summers. (2022) Photograph from 2016 March for Choice – many placards, Digital Repository of Ireland [Distributor], Digital Repository of Ireland [Depositing Institution],

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