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Demonstrator Projects

We have invited the some of the most exciting digital humanities projects in Ireland to demonstrate their projects, which are at various stages of completion, as part of Day 1 of our conference at Croke Park. The demos will be in the lobby of the Hogan Suite, providing an opportunity for conference participants to engage with the various stands during throughout the day.

Here is a list of confirmed demonstrators, in alphabetical order:


Demo Name Demo PI Demo Description
The Abbey Theatre Archive Digitisation Project Dr. Patrick Lonergan (NUIG)

National University of Ireland, Galway, and the Abbey Theatre have entered into a partnership to digitise the archive of the Abbey Theatre. The partnership was launched on 22 October 2012 by President, Michael D. Higgins. It is the largest digital theatre project ever undertaken, and heralds a new era of scholarship for Irish theatre internationally. The Abbey archive, which contains over 1.8 million items, is one of the world’s most significant archival collections. It has a wealth of extraordinary and unique material providing a fascinating insight into Irish theatre, history, culture and society.

The digitised Archive will change our understanding of Irish drama. The history of Irish drama is largely understood to be the history of Irish plays – of the written script. As a full multimedia archive, the digital archive will provide researchers with access to the complete range of materials associated with theatre performance: not just the scripts but also the visual materials (costume, set, and lighting designs), sound materials (music scores, sound effects), and the supporting materials (adverts, press releases, reviews).

AXES: Access to Audio Visual Libraries Prof. Alan Smeaton, Prof. Noel O’ Connor, Dr. Kevin McGuinness (CLARITY, DCU) The goal of AXES is to develop tools that provide various types of users with new engaging ways to interact with audiovisual libraries, helping them discover, browse, navigate, search and enrich archives. In particular, apart from a search-oriented scheme, we will explore how suggestions for audiovisual content exploration can be generated via a myriad of information trails crossing the archive. This will be approached from three perspectives (or axes): users, content, and technology.
CENDARI: Collaborative European Digital Archive Infrastructure Dr. Jennifer Edmond (TCD) CENDARI is a research collaboration aimed at integrating digital archives and resources for research on medieval and modern European history.
CNGL Prof. Vincent Wade (TCD) CNGL is a leading research centre, funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), that seeks to revolutionise the way people can seamlessly interact with content, systems and each other to achieve unprecedented levels of access, efficiency and empowerment. CNGL currently employs more than 150 researchers who are pioneering a new concept called 'Global Intelligent Content'. Global Intelligent Content will enable digital content to be more discoverable, adaptable and repurposable. This represents a major shift in the way content is managed, creating a more robust, agile and interoperable relationship between content and the value chain of services acting upon it.
Cradle (Collaborate, Research, Archive, Discover, Learn, Engage) Dr. John Keating (NUIM) This IRCHSS and Intel funded RDI project “Delivering a Universal Learning Environment for Digital Humanities Education” focussed on the development of distance-based digital humanities education, through the building of a component (or software tool) that can be deployed in current and future Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). Partners included An Foras Feasa, Irish Film Institute and Intel Ireland, Ltd. The key deliverables included: (i) a methodology for the creation of authentic online Digital Humanities Education learning modules; (ii) a software component (CRADLE) that is deployable in a variety of learning environments; (iii) knowledge transfer between partners in industry, university and a cultural institution, with regard to the enhancement of distance-based digital humanities education. This presentation will focus on the features of CRADLE, and how it supports research and education in the Humanities.
Cultura (Cultivating Understanding and Research through Adaptivity) Owen Conlan (TCD), Séamus Lawless

The CULTURA project is researching next generation online cultural experiences — guiding, assisting and empowering every user’s interaction with Europe’s cultural treasures.

A key challenge facing the curators and providers of digital cultural heritage is the ability to instigate, increase and enhance engagement with digital humanities collections. CULTURA is a 3-year, FP7-funded project which is directly addressing this challenge. CULTURA is co-ordinated by the Knowledge and Data Engineering Group at Trinity College Dublin.

CULTURA pioneers advances in the following key technologies:

  • Normalisation of texts that contain inconsistent spelling, nomenclature, punctuation, etc.
  • Entity and relationship extraction to highlight the key individuals, events and relationships in the collections
  • Social network analysis of the entities and relationships within cultural heritage collections and the communities of users engaging with that content.
  • Personalisation to support tailored interaction with the collections

The CULTURA Environment presented at “Realising the Opportunities of Digital Humanities” supports interaction with two significant digital cultural collections:


Ireland at the Western Front (DRI Hack4Europe! 2012 winner)

Eoin Kilfeather (DIT)

DECIPHER is a three year, €4.3 million Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP), developing new solutions to a whole range of narrative construction, knowledge visualisation and display problems for museums. The project's objective is to change the way people access digital heritage by combining much richer, event-based metadata with causal reasoning models.

Ireland at the Western Front uses Decipher and the Europeana API to populate an online, user generated scrapbook on Irish involvement in the Somme region around the date of October 4, 1918.

DHO Discovery Niall O'Leary (DHO/RIA) DHO:Discovery is a gateway to Irish digital collections and resources, information and knowledge. Discovery supports the interdisciplinary and inter-institutional sharing of knowledge throughout the HSIS (Humanities Serving Irish Society) consortium and digital research collections of Irish interest.
Diary of Mary Martin Dr. Susan Schreibman (TCD) An online scholarly edition of the Diary of Mary Martin, a widow and mother of twelve children, living in the affluent Dublin suburb of Monkstown.
DigCurV Dr. Susan Schreibman (TCD) DigCurV brings together a network of partners to address the availability of vocational training for digital curators in the library, archive, museum and cultural heritage sectors needed to develop new skills that are essential for the long-term management of digital collections.
Digital Atlas of Derry~Londonderry Sarah Gearty and Jennifer Moore (RIA) An ArcGIS-based project on Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no. 15, Derry~Londonderry by Avril Thomas (2005). Partnered with Queen's University, Belfast and funded by Derry City of Council, we aim to launch the website in the Spring as part of Derry~Londonderry's year as UK City of Culture.

Donegal Gaeltacht Folklore Collection / Bailiúchán Béaloidis Ghaeltacht Thír Chonaill

Seathrún Ó Tuairisg (NUIG)

The Donegal Gaeltacht Folklore Collection / Bailiúchán Béaloidis Ghaeltacht Thír Chonaill is an online database of audio interviews conducted with various people throughout the Donegal Gaeltacht - from Fánaid to Gleann Cholm Cille and na Cruacha to Árainn Mhór. The interviews were collected between 2006 and 2011 and illustrate the lives of the people from the Donegal Gaeltacht over the last century.

The collection gives an insight into their day to day lives. Some of the main topics include fishing and farming, immigration and employment, natural remedies and superstitious believes, sport and pastimes - almost all facets of Gaeltacht life can be found in the collection. The collection also illustrates the living language as it exists in the present day giving rich examples of the various dialects found throughout the Donegal Gaeltacht.

In total the database contains the details of 230 Irish with a few interviews and other items in English. The main objectives of the project were to digitise, index and archive the interviews so as to facilitate the general public to access the collection via a web frontend. The interview content was broken into subject sections and classified under the 14 main categories of analysis as suggested by the famous folklorist Seán Ó Súilleabháin in the 1940s.

The Down Survey of Ireland Dr. Micheál Ó Siochrú (TCD) / David Brown

The Down Survey of Ireland, 1655-58, was the first measured and mapped survey of any country in the world. An accompanying text, the Books of Survey and Distribution, lists all landowners at townland level and provides further detail such as land types, buildings and areas, all keyed to the maps. The Down Survey was thus the world's first GIS.

The Down Survey Project, at Trinity College Dublin, makes this material available for the first time as a modern GIS comprising digitised 17th Century maps and other material georeferenced to the Ordnance Survey and Google Earth, supported by a database derived from the Books of Survey and Distribution. A particular feature of the GIS is the relating of all 60,000 ancient and modern townland names facilitating the future georeferencing of all historical material.

The GIS contains the complete list of all landowners in Ireland in 1641, prior to the Cromwellian conquest, the complete list of landowners following the conquest, land areas and religion. The GIS is also related to the 1641 depositions allowing spatial analysis to be applied to this source also.

The project is to be hosted by TCD on its own dedicated site. In addition to the GIS database, the site also includes images of all surviving Down Survey Barony and Parish maps (1655-58), approximately 1,200 in total.

Irish Qualitative Data Archive Dr. Jane Gray (NUIM) Teaching and Learning Through the Archive. This demonstrator showcases our work in developing teaching and learning resources using original data held by the Irish Qualitative Data Archive. Participants will be able to explore a number of sociological themes – such as education, religion and family, and to listen to audioclips from original qualitative interviews.
iTunes U: Archive-based learning resources Seathrún Ó Tuairisg (NUIG) We sourced new learning resources from digital archives to aid language acquisition and enrichment in Irish and also to support other subjects through Irish for 5th and 6th class pupils in Gaeltacht and all-Irish primary schools. The resources are delivered through an iTunes U Channel, and comprise almost 300 new learning resources developed on a pilot basis from material in RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s and NUI Galway archives. The audio-visual learning include songs, poems, stories, interesting points of information and history in the different dialects.
IVEA Dr. Siegfried Handschuh (DERI, NUIG) IVEA (Information Visualisation for Exploratory Document Collection Analysis) allows a scholar to examine several aspects of a collection of documents to attain meaningful understanding that is not explicitly available. The insights obtained from the exploration and analysis of a text collection can enable an digital-humanity scholar to understand topic distribution, to find clusters of similar documents, or to identify trends or linkages between different entities.
Joycean Dublin Prof. Carol O’ Sullivan (TCD) A web-enabled digital resource, built on TCD’s Metropolis 3D-model, which facilitates access to and augments the digital archives associated with Dublin at the time of Joyce’s Dubliners.
Joyce’s Ulysses, Linked Data Dr. Siegfried Handschuh (DERI, NUIG)

Recent development in distributional Semantics is used to examine how James Joyce used language in his landmark work Ulysses. Distinguishing language features emerge from this study, reflecting the cultural background of Joyce’s time. This shows how the Dublin of 1904, an Edwardian backwater of the British Empire, is visible in Joyce's language. We analyse the characteristics of the word usage by James Joyce. Ulysses is particularly challenging for the reader as well as for computational text mining approaches. This is the first time that our semantic approach is applied in the domain of digital humanities and hence on the work of James Joyce.

Further we worked on semi-automatic semantic-annotation of Ulysses in order to enrich the document with metadata on several semantic levels by using Linked Data standards. The extracted meta-data can then be combined with Linked Open Data to gain a better understanding of Joyce’s work.

The Peace Process: Layers of Meaning Dr Anna Bryson, Centre for Contemporary Irish History (TCD) The Peace Process: Layers of Meaning project is a hybrid programme of work supported by the European Regional Development Fund and involving collaboration between Queen Mary, University of London, Trinity College Dublin, and Dundalk Institute of Technology. Core components include the creation of a heritage interview archive, the delivery of advanced oral history training, stimulation of exemplary cross-border and cross-community projects, and the development of online resources relating to the Peace Process. This showcase will focus on the LOMOND online directory ( which lists surviving interviews, social investigations and oral histories of the peace process. It is an interactive database searchable according to key words, interviewer, interviewee, date of interview, and the time period covered in the interview. The directory also contains short synopses of interviews, in addition to a link to the original transcript or recording where available. The project is described in full at:
Presto Centre Simon Factor (Moving Media, Presto Centre)

The PrestoCentre Foundation ( is a membership-driven organisation that brings together a global community of stakeholders in audiovisual digitisation and digital preservation to share, work and learn. PrestoCentre works with experts, researchers, advocates, businesses, public services, educational organisations and professional associations to enhance the audiovisual sector's ability to provide long-term access to cultural heritage. As intermediary, PrestoCentre Foundation offers a valuable platform by connecting and facilitating interactions between these groups.

For smaller archives, we provide services to connect, share experiences and learn from early adopting organisations

For larger archives, we offer structured ways to collaborate and share knowledge more effectively.
For research and commercial organisations, PrestoCentre functions as a market and technology watch and helps in the evaluation and transfer of new R&D and commercial output.

PrestoCentre also works with advocates, public services and professional associations, to forge closer ties with government, industry, and academia.

RIAN and TARA Niamh Brennan (TCD)  
RTE Digital Archives Liam Wylie (RTE)

RTÉ Archives are responsible for collecting, preserving and making accessible the creative and documentary output of the national broadcaster.
Combining hundreds of thousands of hours of moving image and sound recordings together with significant collections of photographs, manuscripts and administrative documents, RTÉ Archives contain a unique record of Irish life.

As well as keeping these audiovisual records RTÉ Archives are looking to make more content available on an increasing number of platforms and devices. RTÉ Archives provide content for radio and television programmes. This website contains items chosen from hundreds of thousands of hours of archives. Other radio and television content has been published and is available to purchase on CD and DVD.

RTÉ’s ambition is to continue to open up the RTÉ Archives to as broad a public in as many different ways as possible.

TRECVid 2010 Prof. Alan Smeaton, Dr Noel O’ Connor, Dr. David Scott and Dr. Cathal Gurrin (CLARITY, DCU) For TRECVid 2010 we developed a simple content based multimedia information retrieval system which could be use by both expert and novice users alike without hampering either user group. Developed on an iPad interface it utilised methods of text, similarity and concept search strategies to attain items known to be in the collection. Using visual features to create and classify concepts we use this platform to discover the behavioural traits of our Novice groups to determine features which can aid future development
UCD Digital Library Dr. John Howard (UCD) Digital repository services for humanities and social sciences, a success to the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA)
Virtual Tour of the Gold Room in the NMI Prof. Alan Smeaton, Dr Noel O’ Connor, Dr. David Monaghan (CLARITY, DCU) The Virtual Tour presents a demonstration of a multi-sensory virtual experience that accurately reflects the experience of a real visit to a museum. It displays a 3D interactive digital museum exhibition corresponding to a photo-realistic 3D reconstruction of the Iconic Treasures exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland’s archaeology building. Users can explore the 3D virtual environment and interact with the displays by accessing high resolution photographs and historical descriptions of the artefacts. This demo will showcase the experience on a 3D laptop with the use of active shutter LCD glasses to create an immersive experience. A key aspect of the demonstration is that it was developed using low-cost or freely available OTS tools wherever possible putting the creation of such digital exhibitions within reach of even modest budgets.