Ithaca, NY The Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive Project (IVRLA, http://www.ucd.ie/ivrla/main.html) is an Irish government funded project based in University College Dublin. The Project is a component of the research program of the Humanities Institute of Ireland (UCD HII, http://www.ucd.ie/hii/). Its aims are to support leading-edge research by enabling access to digitized content, and to undertake direct research on digitization and digital repositories.
To experience the richness of IVRLA visit the “Folklore Photograph Collection,” (http://ivrlaprod.ucd.ie/fedora/get/ivrla10-:10100/ivrla10-:collectionLayoutbDef/getLayout/) one of several recently released collections. This online exhibit consists of 402 photographs that are a representative sample of some 80,000 images from the National Folklore Collection (http://www.ucd.ie/irishfolklore/en/). The images present a slice-of-life view of Irish people, homes, businesses, commerce, recreation and culture in photographs taken from 1890-1985.
IVRLA has three main project tracks: Track one which began in 2005 and is on-going, saw a period of dedicated research into best practice for digitization and cataloging of digital objects and how to manage and handle such objects within collection structures. This work resulted in a sophisticated workflow for the scanning, capture, cataloguing, and preservation of digital objects in addition to the creation of a number of derivative versions for delivery. The project utilises Djvu as its main delivery format and uses Encoded Archival Description and MODS for collection and object descriptive metadata. Further information about this is available on the project website.
Track two of the project is focussed on the development of a sophisticated repository to hold and store these digital objects. At its base the repository layer is Fedora. Fedora was selected due to its inherent flexibility and it allowed the development of an interface suited to the project’s requirements. The ability to deploy an open source system rather than buy into a proprietary system was regarded as a distinct advantage, particularly as the project co-operates with UCD’s Schools of Computer Science & Informatics, and Information & Library Studies in the development of additional added value services. Fedora’s architecture enabled the articulation of an appropriate content model and one that can support any future services which may be plugged into this infrastructure.
Track three which was inaugurated in 2007 began development of the IVRLA interface (http://www.ucd.ie/ivrla/) allowing researchers access and use the stored content, in addition to offering an expanding suite of user tools and functions, such as search, browse, citation support and tagging elements.