CaseStudy_BookofKells_Arlene Healy


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  • IntroMy name is Arlene Healy and I’m here to talk about Trinity College Library Dublin’s Digital Collection and more specifically our digitisation and provision of access to the Book of KellsThe Library at TCD is a university library, an archive, a museum and one of Irelands most poplar tourism sitesThe Trinity College Dublin Library possesses more than 6 million volumes covering a millennium of material, and crossing the planet from Tibet to the Aran islands. The history of Ireland and the world is revealed first hand in its Special Library Collections.
  • Digital Collections launched 2012The aim is to open the treasures of our Manuscript, archive and early printed book collections to students, scholars,researchers, the general public and tourists everywhere with only the click of a button.Aims: Provide Access, Facilitate Academic Research, to help preserve our fragile and historically important collections.Open AccessPersonal use and scholarship
  • MS 58 Folio 32 verso detailSelection Criteria: prioritising what we digitise within the limited resources is tricky but we base our decisions on use patterns and loan/exhibition requests and requirementsFragility and historical importance of the collectionsResearcher requirementsPriorities set by European and international bids and/or collaboration
  • Collections : 5,000 collection level items primarily special collections and national treasuresList available collections: Medieval Greek manuscripts, the 17th Century Hardiman Map collection, Printed ephemera from the period of Irish Independence & the Civil War period, and the manuscript and photographic collections of the playwright J.M Synge, Book of KellsOnly a small percentage of the 250,000 items in Special Collections. We will never be able to digitise all of this material (funding, staff). Therefore we understand the need to explore partnerships with commercial entities. Challenge lies in negotiating terms that are mutually beneficial
  • So how did we build Digital Collections. Initial Investment – Library and PRTLI National grant FundingEquipment – Photographic, dedicated book scanners, robotic page turning scannerThe repository is implemented on an enterprise class storage infrastructure designed to provide long term preservation and hosted by the university’s High Performance Computing Centre. (370 TB repository IT infrastructure)
  • MS 58 folio 202 verso detailRepository development In house with dedicated Programming staffOpen source development using common platforms (Fedora/SOLR) and toolsLack of funding to invest in staffing is a limiting factor. We have dedicated team of 5 FTESustainable funding critical to the preservation mandate
  • What about our involvement in Europeana. We have been successful in bidding for funding under two projects: Europeana Travel and Europeana LibrariesCollections involved: Europeana Travel – (eContentPlus): a collection of travel journals and books dating from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries, documenting the tours of individuals and families in Ireland and throughout Europe. The second collection is the papers of Major Richard William George Hingston(1887- 1966). Europeana Libraries – (ICT PSP): Samuels Collection printed Ephemera and Synge Collection.
  • Benefits of participating in Europeana are many and variedDrives traffic to our site and provides positive Irish exposure to the larger European CommunityFacilitates international network building and collaborative communitiesHelps us to recognise standards and best practisesThe fact that imaging was funded was a real benefit –Imaging not funded requiring library to absorb additional digitisation costs at a time when we don’t have the necessary funds locally
  • Moving on now to talk about the Book of Kells projectBook of Kells – Premiere Irish National Treasure, 9th Century illuminated Manuscript... 1990s - The Book of Kells transparencies, were captured in 1990, These were rescanned by our team using state of the art imaging technology. We have the best surrogate images to date of the book, and they are in the repository.
  • Content added to Repository in advance of St. Patrick’s Weekend celebrationsWhy? - it’s the most popular and publically recognised object in the library collections, showcase repository, promote Long Room and Collections as a tourist attraction, alignment with other celebratory events taking place in College and in Dublin
  • Something amazing happened – and we had unprecedented interest in the digital version Book of Kells over the St. Patricks Day Weekend:74, 000 visitors in three days,Increased from 100 a dayVisits from 167 countries around the world,200 visitors on the site every second consistently for 24 hours.Long term impact was a 3 fold increase in daily traffic
  • Viral Sharing Through Social Media 4,000 shares on Facebook driving 10,000 visitsThousands of retweets, driving 2,000 visits.If you can’t see it in person – it’s the next best thing.
  • The global reach was astonishingThe TCD Digital Collections website had visitors from nearly every country across the world:Visits from 167 countries,Interestingly , but perhaps not surprisingly 70% of visitors came from the US,After Dublin, the most visits by city came from:New York, London, Chicago.Regular visits from many developing nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
  • The Trend to Mobile20% of our total visitors viewed on a mobile device,464 different mobile devices where used to view the repository,60% of the visitors used Apple devices, 60% of these were on the iPad.Driving decisions for future repository development (is the EU interested in funding opportunities in this space)
  • Used by not only researchers and scholars in Trinity College Dublin and in Irelandbut from other educational institutions around the world
  • Wonderful promotion from other cultural institutions from Ireland ,UK and all around the world – Thank you Communities are passionate about digital access and the materials involved – speaks to the demand which is still not yet met
  • Book of Kells launch – driving trafficAt first >90% of all traffic was to the Book of Kells, but now it is only a fraction of the whole, showing the increasing importance of academic interestImpact on usage figures (Image of recent usage figures) Exploring wider collections and exhibitions
  • An unexpected outcome was the cross fertilisation which occurred in terms of promotion of the Book of Kells App and the new volume on the Book of Kells by Trinity's Head of Research Collections and Keeper of Manuscripts, Dr Bernard Meehan
  • Folio 188 recto detailWhat does the future hold?Well firstly all aspects of Digital Library development need to be looked at as a programme and not a project in terms of fundingWishlist for EU: Fund all aspects of the process – from cradle to graveFunding for staffing needs to be addressed– there are very challenging policy and economic issues but if we don’t resolve them, we will be dealing with a very uneven playing field with smaller, poorer EU nations, struggling to provide access and exposure to their archives and cultural artifacts.
  • Folio 188 recto detaiAnd a final word on Copyright and the continuing need for reform of legislation so that we can provide access , stimulate research and grow the creative industries while recognising the rights holders. We look forward to the imminent release of the report on the Review of Copyright legislation in Ireland.Thanks for listening and many thanks to my colleagues in Digital Resources and Imaging Services for collaborating with me on this presentation.
  • CaseStudy_BookofKells_Arlene Healy

    1. 1. Image of Long Room
    2. 2. From the papers of MajorRichard WilliamGeorge Hingston;1912-1966IE TCD MS 10484/4
    3. 3. Book of KellsMS 58 fol. 32 verso
    4. 4. Book of KellsMS 58 fol. 57 verso