Trinity College Library Launches Digital Collections – a Free Online Resource of its Historic Collections Spanning a Millennium

Posted on: 03 December 2012

From Tibet to the Aran islands – The history of Ireland and the world is revealed first hand in its  online Library Collections

The Digital Collections ( an online resource, providing free internet access to Trinity College Library’s historic collections was launched recently.  For the very first time access to the unique and historic collections of the library does not require a trip to the Long Room, only an Internet connection and a click of the mouse.  The Digital Collections designed specifically for the digital age is an initiative of the Trinity College Library Dublin and the Digital Resources and Imaging Services Department.

“As the Trinity College Library Dublin is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Old Library building and the world famous Long Room Library we recognise the contribution this remarkable national resource has provided to students, scholars and researchers across Ireland and all over the world,”  said Trinity College  Librarian, Robin Adams.

” For 300 years as the University has expanded its collections of books, manuscripts, and rare cultural treasures, the Old Library has opened its reading rooms and provided access to its collections to scholars from every corner of the world.”

“‘We now invite you to join with us and navigate your web browser to the next chapter of the Library at Trinity College Dublin. This innovative digital resource will expand access to our collections, open new avenues of learning and education, and will form the foundation of a new electronic library to serve the people of Ireland for another 300 years.”

Image of Robert Erskine Childers and of his wife Mary Alden Childers. The Childers collection contains papers relating to Childers’ personal, political and literary affairs, as well as correspondence of his wife. 

The 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.

Over the past few years the Library’s Digital Resources team has been hard at work digitising materials from the Manuscripts & Archives and Early Printed Books collections, as well as designing and programming a unique new online library. With the launch of the first version of the Digital Collections Repository it is providing access to the remarkable treasures of its library to students, researchers, and armchair scholars anywhere in the world at any time, from the comfort of their home, the classroom, or even the local coffee shop.

In the past, access to many of our remarkable and unique historical objects was limited solely to scholars and researchers. The fragile nature and historic value of these rare and unique items required special handling and care to ensure that wear and tear was minimised over time. As a result, access to the most fragile and historically important items was often restricted. Collections such as the Medieval Greek manuscripts, the 17th Century Hardiman Map collection, Hingston Travel Photographs, and the manuscript and photographic collections of the playwright J.M Synge were once available to only a select few.

For the first time, an internet connection and a few clicks of the mouse or taps of a touch screen are all that is needed to provide easy intuitive access to the wealth of teaching, learning, and research materials that sit at the centre of our historic Library. From links within the Europeana Digital Library or directly from the Trinity College Library Digital Collections Repository at  every school child with access to an Internet connection is now able learn about the Book of Kells, Irish history, and an infinite number of other topics directly from the original documents themselves.

From a simple search screen a collection of volumes and images opens providing full colour icons of the books, images, and manuscripts highlighted by the search. An intuitive and streamlined interface allows the user the ability to seamlessly zoom into the image and navigate to explore the content of interest. A full screen mode offers a seamless book reading interface opening the possibility to use this resource on a wide variety of portable Internet devices. For those with only limited Internet access, offline reading is supported with the ability to download images of the individual pages themselves or to generate a Pdf document of the entire volume. Mobile Internet device downloads are supported directly through the use of QR bar codes. A click of the camera is all that is needed to download the whole volume right into your mobile device or tablet.

Please join us now and explore the new Digital Library Collections at

For Further information on the Digital Library Collections please contact:

Tim Keefe

Head, Digital Resources & Imaging Services

+353 1 896 2888

+353 87 219 9773