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National Collection of Children's Books - The Stats are in: over 30,000 users of the National Collection of Children's Books website!

Congratulations to the National Collection of Children’s Books (NCCB) team members on the success of their major two-year project, funded by the Irish Research Council. The website was completed in December 2015 and the statistics show that - in just nine months - over 30,000 unique users have used the website, with a large percentage returning as repeat users.

Initially, the project aimed to create a catalogue containing 40,000 books and a database with 200 entries. It surpassed its goals significantly and finished with a user-friendly catalogue of over 250,000 books and a database containing over 500 entries. Anyone wishing to find out more about the project, its parameters and aims, can visit nccb.tcd.ie. Freely available podcasts from the NCCB symposium and exhibition document the project’s journey in detail.

NCCB was a two-year interdisciplinary and inter-institutional project (School of English, Trinity College Dublin and Church of Ireland College of Education). From the outset, its goal was to examine children's books collections in five Dublin libraries as the main and largest collections of children’s books are in Dublin. The aim was to create a solid foundation and robust infrastructure, the first step towards a more comprehensive detailing of collections of children's books in libraries throughout Ireland.

Commenting on the success of the project, co-principal investigator Dr Pádraic Whyte (School of English, Trinity College Dublin) said:

“With the help of a hard-working team of experts from Computer Science, Education, English, Irish, and Librarian Studies, as well as the invaluable assistance of national and international scholars, we’re delighted with the final results. In particular, the NCCB catalogue is a fantastic resource. It is essentially a union catalogue that brings together the records of a number of libraries and allows researchers to search, in one go, 250,000 books categorised as children’s books in these Dublin libraries. It does not alter the categorisation of the books but allows scholars to see exactly how books were categorised as ‘children’s’ or ‘juvenile’ over the centuries in the participating libraries. The catalogue is such a rich resource for so many different types of scholars. As users will see, the functionality and stability of the catalogue is impressive. This is in large part due to the fact we ensured that external, expert evaluation of the catalogue informed all stages and aspects of the project. We’re delighted that so many people are now using it. ”

Co-principal investigator Dr Keith O’Sullivan (Church of Ireland College of Education, DCU) added:

“The database is also a central element of the project. It provides detailed descriptions of individual books, with a view to providing insight into the kinds of texts available in the collections, but especially those of Irish interest. Overall, we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to the project from national and international scholars of children’s literature. Librarians and academics from numerous world-leading institutions, including Yale, Princeton, and Cambridge, have praised it. We’d like to thank them for the support. We’d also like to thank the Irish Research Council who worked closely with us every step of the way by offering feedback on each progress report. We were delighted to significantly surpass the original goals and deliver such an ambitious project on time and on budget. Within a two-year timeframe, the NCCB team created a website from scratch, built a catalogue, developed a database, and ran a symposium and exhibition. It’s exhausting just thinking about it.”

Readers can try the catalogue for themselves at nccb.tcd.ie

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