Our Provincial Archivist, Dr Brian Kirby, writes to announce the online availability of an electronic catalogue for the collection of Capuchin Papers relating to the Irish Revolution.
The catalogue is fully searchable, allowing for cross-referencing and browsing by users. Over one hundred digital images of original documents, photographs and artefacts from the Provincial Archives are now included on the site. The collection consists of the correspondence and papers of Capuchin Friars detailing their involvement with participants in the nationalist struggle for independence including material relating to the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War. Extensive biographies and photographs of the Capuchin Friars most directly involved in the key events of the revolutionary period are also accessible on the site.
I won’t get too technical, but the catalogue was created using AtoM, a web-based, open source application for standards-based archival description. All of AtoM’s functions take place via a web browser, which means I can access it from anywhere and on any device (including my home laptop which has been particularly useful during this pandemic-related ‘lockdown’.).
Currently, our archival catalogues are accessible as downloadable PDFs at this link on the Irish Capuchin website. AtoM will offer a far more dynamic and user-friendly experience than that offered by traditional hard-copy catalogues. The ability to attach digital objects will also allow researchers to view scanned copies of original documents or photographs (without ever having the need to visit the Archives in-person).
Over the coming months, I hope to continue work on the conversion and transfer of our existing PDF catalogues to the AtoMplatform for display on the Catholic Archives website. This website is a joint project with Matthew Bruton (archivist for the Benedictines at Glenstal Abbey). It is our intention that once this portal website is up and running it will facilitate far greater access to archival collections held by religious congregations across a wide range of repositories, libraries and archives.