August 27, 2001
Library lands $120K to put Irish holdings online
By Nancy Brooks
Woodruff Library has been awarded a $120,000 grant from the Gladys Krieble
Delmas Foundation to provide online access to major Irish literary archives
at Emory and Boston College (BC), two primary repositories of Irish literature
in the United States. The library will digitize collection descriptions
from the two schools and develop a searching interface that will allow
scholars to quickly find appropriate materials.
The grant will open a gateway to some of the most important Irish literature
collections held in this country and will significantly enhance the ability
of scholars to discover relevant materials within these collections.
Eventually, other repositories holding Irish literary collections will
be invited to add their own research aids to the website, enabling the
resource to continue growing in size and scope.
These collections will form the foundation for what will become an increasingly
comprehensive site for scholars and students in the field. Moreover, the
project will model the role of technology in facilitating the use of primary
The collections of Emory and Boston College are an extraordinary
resource for the study of 20th century Irish literary culture, said
Steve Enniss, curator of literary collections at Woodruff. Electronic
access to the Irish literary finding aids of these two extensive collections
will not only create a vast combined resource for Irish literary scholarship
but will reunite electronically a number of companion collections that
are currently held in the two institutions.
For example, Enniss said, Emory and BC hold complementary Abbey Theatre,
Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon and W.B. Yeats collections.
Emorys Irish literary archives range from the Irish renaissance
to the present. They include correspondence, manuscripts and related papers
of Yeats and his circle, including the Abbey Theatre collection, the Gregory
family papers and the Maude Gonne collection, as well as the literary
archives of many of Irelands finest contemporary writers. These
include the papers of Mahon, Thomas Kinsella, Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon,
Edna OBrien and an important Heaney collection.
The BC Irish collections include literary figures Samuel Beckett (including
the Barney Rosset and Alan Schneider collections), John Deane, Nuala Ni
Dhomhnaill, Sean OCasey and Yeats. They also include important ancillary
collections documenting the experience of the Irish in America.
Enniss will work with Susan Potts McDonald, head of technical services
in Special Collections, to plan and provide oversight and consultation
for the work. Naomi Nelson, director of digital archives in Special Collections,
will assist in planning for the encoding, the search and retrieval interface,
and gateway design.
The Delmas Foundation supports excellence in scholarship and the performing arts, particularly projects that promote wide access to research library collections and institutions that transmit cultural heritage.