Rare historical publications in TCD’s Old Library to be digitised

Posted on: 30 March 2005

A collaboration between Trinity College Dublin and a new company, Archive CD Books Ireland Ltd., will see the digitisation and publication on CD of significant parts of the College’s older collection of books, journals, and historical directories. Archive CD Books Ireland is part of a world-wide project to make available rare books and publications in digital format. The company began digitising major Irish national and county directories held in the College library in January. So far 25 historical directories are available on CD. A further 150 will be available by 2006. The company believes that making documents and books that are of direct interest to historical researchers and genealogists available now will generate widespread interest and awareness in the new service. Once on CD, records, books and directories will be fully searchable on computer and, hence, a major new tool for professional, amateur and academic researchers. Trinity College Library is the largest library in Ireland and one of the largest in Europe. Founded in 1592 it is both an Irish and a British copyright library, and consequently houses the majority of works published regarding Ireland and Irish history. The company intends to extend its range to historic collections held by other libraries and repositories. An important benefit of the project will be the preservation of many important printed historical documents. Archive CD Books will co-operate with libraries and archives to create preservation images of their holdings, thus safeguarding them for future generations. Robin Adams, Librarian of Trinity College, commented “We are excited by this project as it will improve access to our unique collection of historic books for researchers not only in Ireland but also throughout the world. It also has major significance for the preservation of the collection, as the College receives copies of all the digitised versions, meaning our readers have less reason to use the originals. The process being used also causes no damage to the original books. By making the books searchable it will greatly enhance the type of research possible on this material and we expect it will be a welcome resource for the scholarly community”.