The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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Why Digitally Preserving Cultural Heritage Data Matters

As a trusted national digital repository for Ireland’s cultural heritage data, the DRI is privileged to play a role in preserving the country’s cultural memory. For National Heritage Week 2020, we have chosen to explore the theme of 'Heritage at your doorstep' through highlighting the archival collections of some of our members, which include memories, objects, and stories of diverse communities across Ireland.

We invite you to watch the videos on this page to listen to a series of short interviews with our members about their archival collections, the role digital archives play in helping us to learn from our heritage, and why digital preservation of cultural heritage matters.

Interview with Orla Egan, Digital Archivist and Creator of Cork LGBT Archive

Collection: The Cork LGBT Archive

DRI Digital Archivist Kevin Long chats to Orla Egan, creator and curator of the Cork LGBT Archive, an archive that aims to preserve and share information in relation to the rich history of Cork's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities. Community archives, like the Cork LGBT Archive, aim to preserve histories that are often marginalised in, or absent from, traditional archives, museums, historiographies, and heritage institutions. The Cork LGBT Archive won the inaugural DRI Community Archive Scheme and DRI is privileged to be able to preserve this socially significant cultural heritage data.

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Interview with Vukašin Nedeljković, Founder of the Asylum Archive

Collection: The Asylum Archive 

DRI Digital Archivist Kevin Long talks to Vukašin Nedeljković, founder of the Asylum Archive, about the Asylum Archive collections. As a former resident of Direct Provision, Vukašin offers a valuable perspective on the rich collection of almost 6,000 digital objects in Asylum Archive, including photographs, academic essays, and audio interviews. DRI believes it is important to make long-term preservation of digital materials open to a wide range of organisations, including those operating on a non-funded, voluntary basis, and we offer free membership and all the related benefits as part of our Community Archive Scheme. Asylum Archive is the winner of the 2019 Community Archive Award and these important and challenging archival collections are in the process of being ingested into the DRI for long-term preservation and access. In a powerful interview, Vukašin discusses his experience of direct provision and highlights the importance of using the archives to learn about the treatment of people who came to Ireland seeking international protection.

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Interview with Stephanie Rousseau, Assistant Archivist at Dublin City Library

Collection: Jacob’s Biscuit Factory Archive

DRI Software Engineer Dr. Kathryn Cassidy chats to Stephanie Rousseau, assistant archivist at Dublin City Library and Archive, about the Jacob's Biscuit Factory Archive. This collection contains records relating to Jacob's Biscuit Factory in Bishop Street (1880-1975) and Tallaght (1975-2009), deposited by Valeo Foods and Douglas. The archives of W & R Jacob and Company were acquired by Dublin City Library and Archive in 2012. Comprising both the business archives donated by Valeo Foods and the Appleyard Collection donated by Douglas Appleyard, the 330 boxes contain a wide range of records, relating to over 150 years of biscuit making in Dublin. This archive represents a rich and significant contribution to the study of business and commercial life in Dublin in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It also offers valuable information about life in the community of over three thousand Dublin workers, mostly women, who were engaged at any given time during most of the company’s manufacturing period. Kathryn asks Stephanie about this important aspect of Ireland’s industrial cultural heritage, what we can hope to learn from the collection, (and how Jacob’s got those figs in the fig rolls…)

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Interview with Dr. Máire Leane, Co-Principal Investigator of Irish Women at Work Oral History Project

Collection: Irish Women at Work Oral History Project

Dáire Rooney, Content and Engagement coordinator for the Europeana Common Culture Project, speaks to Dr. Máire Leane, co-principal investigator with Dr Elizabeth Kiely, of the Irish Women at Work Oral History Project. This collection includes 42 oral history interviews focused on the working lives of women (1930-1960) living in three counties of Ireland (Cork, Kerry and Limerick). The Irish Women at Work Oral History project was part of an interdisciplinary research initiative entitled 'Women and Irish Society: Understanding the Past and Present Through Archives and Social Research'. The Women and Irish Society initiative was funded under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI 1) and represented a collaborative venture between staff from the Departments of Applied Social Studies, English and Sociology in University College Cork. Launched in February 2000, the initiative sought to illuminate the transformation of women's lives in Irish society over time and place, through sociological, literary and applied social research. The oral history strand of the project documents the working lives of women in the Munster counties of Cork, Kerry and Limerick, during the period 1936-1960. It provides a rich repository of data about women’s experiences of work, family life and schooling, and their impressions of change in women's lives in Ireland.

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