Launch of the Life Histories Digital Archive
Trinity Long Room Hub
29 May 2012
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to Trinity this morning for the launch of the Life Histories Digital Archive.
Lifehistoriesarchive.com is a digital collection of 24 autobiographies which were written by a group of women and men from Dublin and Belfast many of who I am delighted to see here today. I would like to extend a very special welcome to you all, and to your families and friends.
The aim of the Life Histories Archive is to facilitate what is called “intergenerational knowledge exchange” so it is very fitting that we are launching this archive in 2012 because it is European year for active ageing and solidarity between generations, and the launch is coinciding with the annual Bealtaine Festival which runs throughout May.
Bealtaine is an Age and Opportunity initiative part funded by the Arts Council which is a celebration of creativity as we age. At Trinity we are committed to making Ireland the best place in the world to grow old. Multi disciplinary research on ageing, in all its facets, is a major priority for us and the Life Histories Archive is a creative and innovative research initiative that aligns well with this.
It is a narrative research project that goes some way towards preserving the legacy of a generation who, in their own words communicate the richness of their life experiences. And not just that but also the wisdom and knowledge gained from those life experiences.
The Life Histories Archive also has the capacity to invite visitors to contribute their own stories to the website. This can be done in a small way, by leaving a comment on the website relevant to a story, or it may be done in a bigger way, by contributing a complete autobiography to the site.
The archive is the university at its best – doing its work for the public good. This archive resource is offered by Trinity free to the public, and we are proud to be able to provide this service.
It is in making our research findings, and in the case of this Archive, the stories of men and women from across our communities, north and south, available through open access in the Library that the mutually beneficial outcomes of this project have real impact.
I would like to commend the autobiographers who have been brave enough to participate in this pioneering project. The importance of the stories and deep personal insights that you have donated to this Archive for sharing with current and future generations cannot be overvalued.
The generous donation of your stories to the TCD Library sets the stage for a continuing, mutually beneficial partnership. It is through academic and community based partnerships such as this that creativity and innovation prosper.
The Life Histories Digital Archive is not only a repository of a wonderful collection of books; it is an interactive teaching and research resource that can be accessed in Trinity by both academics and students.
The collection has tremendous benefits as a potential teaching resource and I understand from talking with Dr McTiernan that work is already underway to develop new pedagogies to maximise this potential.
The collection also creates a research corpora that academics and scholars across disciplines, including Psychology, Linguistics, Sociology, Gerontology, History and Women and Gender Studies, to name but a few, will be able to access and use for their own scholarly research.
I would like to thank the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences for their support for this very valuable project.
I would like to congratulate the cross disciplinary Project Team, from the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences, the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, and the Library on collaborating to create the organic and growing resource that is the Life Histories Digital Archive.
My sincere thanks to all the autobiographers without who this archive would not exist.
And now, it is my great pleasure to officially launch The Life Histories Digital Archive.
I want to finish by congratulating the Principal Investigator of the Life Histories Archive, Dr Kathleen McTiernan, who will now speak more to the details of the Archive and will walk us through an exhibition of an autobiography.