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Digital Repository of Ireland: Open Access and a User-Centred Approach

Digital Repository of Ireland: Open Access and a User-Centred Approach

The Digital Repository of Ireland is a national, trusted digital repository for social science and humanities data, with the mission of linking, preserving, and providing access to Ireland’s social and cultural heritage. Initially funded by the Irish government over a four year period (2011-2015), the DRI is employing 40 staff across a research consortium of six partners to build the repository from the ground up. The partners include the  Royal Irish Academy (RIA, lead institute), National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), and National College of Art and Design (NCAD), and the repository will be launched in progressive phases, starting in April 2014.

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In order to best serve the Irish SSH community, and in an effort to help consolidate a digital heritage community in Ireland, the DRI has taken a user-centred approach to building the repository, with a strong focus on research and development, requirements planning, and policy building.  This approach includes the adoption of open source software solutions, as well as involvement in a range of international organisations and e-infrastructures that are developing best practices in the field of digital preservation. During the first year of the project, DRI staff conducted 40 interviews with institutions across the country, in order to determine current practices in data management and digital preservation. The information collected created the basis for the first report in the DRI Series, Digital Archiving in Ireland: National Survey of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and also provided direction in terms of building repository requirements, policies and standards.

While preserving and providing a central internet access point for Ireland’s historical and contemporary data is the DRI’s technical goal, the DRI is also making significant contributions to the development of guidelines and policy around digital preservation in Ireland, and is actively promoting the adoption of open access approaches. Dr. Sandra Collins, the Director of DRI, was on the steering committee that developed the National Principles for Open Access Policy Statement, which was endorsed by the Irish government and launched by Sean Sherlock, TD, Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation and Department of Education & Skills in October 2012. DRI is also actively involved in new research projects, and recently completed a collaborative project called Linked Logainm, which created a Linked Data version of logainm.ie, the authoritative bilingual database of Irish placenames. The demonstrator for the project, Location LODer, provides a visualisation and links to several other datasets, including Europeana’s API.

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DRI is also co-organising the 3rd plenary of the Research Data Alliance in Dublin, March 26-28, 2013. This important new alliance is dedicated to accelerating and facilitating research data sharing and exchange, and implements the technology, practice, and connections that make Data work across barriers.

For more information about the Digital Repository of Ireland, please visit www.dri.ie or contact Natalie Harrower, Manager of Education and Outreach. http://dri.ie/dri-team/natalie-harrower