Show, Tell, Share: Day of DH 2014

My One Fine #DayofDH was very fine indeed. My final post for Day of DH 2014 is about sharing resources for teaching and learning about nineteenth-century Irish history and plans by the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland for revealing the hidden treasures of its library….

Over the last two years I have collected thousands of images of Irish church architecture and furnishings as part of my doctoral research. Time to organize and share them so I’m building an Omeka-powered website! Having worked with the downloadable version of Omeka for Gothic Past, which we customized and had hosted on a stand-alone server, I opted to have the new site – Building Catholic Ireland – hosted on the platform. There are pros and cons for both but the hosted version was attractive as it is free (*depending on the plan you choose) and there’s no need for a server. This makes it a great option for students – like me! You can read about the differences between the hosted and downloadable versions of Omeka here.

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I had a look at the showcase before selecting the Rhythm theme and opting for the Fall style – a strong palette of red, ochre and grey. The latter forms the background for item display and was well suited the kind of images my collection contains. I was able to upload content and complete the Dublin Core metadata fields quickly. (At the time of writing there’s just a small selection of images in the collection but there are more to come!)

Plug-ins for this theme include the Exhibit builder option which allows images to be curated into a narrative that incorporates text. All in all I’m really pleased with the progress I managed to make in a very short period of time. I plan on using the resource with first year History of Art and Architecture students at Trinity College Dublin in order to give them a taste of the possibilities offered by DH – and hopefully encourage them to become more active members of the #DHie community. (Students come in many guises – I am also about to start working with some ‘lifelong learners’ who want to curate their family history resources using the Omeka platform!) You can check out the Building Catholic Ireland beta site here.


Screen shot 2014-04-09 at 23.46.36As I mentioned in my very first post for the Day of DH 2014 I am a member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (RSAI) and also sit on its governing Council. One of the most exciting moves forward for the Society this year is our review of the Library holdings – no mean task as it has more than 10,000 printed works! We are cataloguing and organizing all of the collections- books, journals, manuscripts and images – in order to make them available online. This week was set aside for preparing the data for ingestion into a cloud-based content management system.

The library was laid out a year after the Society took up residence in Merrion Square in 1917 and the collection includes Irish and international sources on archaeology, folklore and local history. The interactive visual nature of the new interface will revolutionize the means by which readers explore the collections. We hope this will encourage new research – trust me, there’s a wealth of PhD topics nesting in these collections!

IMG_3989When the project is complete we look forward to welcoming actual and virtual visitors to the Reading Room at 63 Merrion Square, Dublin (currently closed due to staff shortages.) Meanwhile — drop by our website and grab a bargain: we have surplus stock to practically give away :-) The RSAI was founded in 1849 making it the oldest archaeological and history society in Ireland —membership begins at just €30.

Twitter: To hear more on developments at the RSAI follow @RSAINews. If you want to find out how the Gothic Past or Building Catholic Ireland Omeka-powered sites are doing follow @Caroline McGee 


Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 00.08.57I’ve really enjoyed taking part in Day of DH 2014 — looking forward to next year already. Thanks to all at Matrix, the Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at Michigan State University for organizing everything so well, to Emma Clarke for all her hard work with the #DHie group and to Shawn Day, Karolina Badzmierowska and all the other great folks who made this initiative such a fun and informative experience. CMG.