WIT is recognised as the leading research performer in the institute of technology sector and their Libraries offer a comprehensive support framework for students, staff, and external users. Over the past decade, WIT Libraries have become the custodians of a considerable range of historical special collections. The collections consist of images, audio, videos, qualitative and qualitative data, and physical archival material that has been digitised spanning from the nineteenth-century to the present. WIT Libraries play a pivotal role in facilitating scholarly and academic research through the historical artefacts in their collections which are key to understanding the heritage of Waterford and the wider Southeast region. These collections include the Christ Church Cathedral Collection, Bonaparte-Wyse Collection, Red Kettle Theatre Archives, the Graves & Sons Shipping Company Archive, and the Justice for Magdalenes Archive.
WIT Libraries is committed to ensuring that students and other library users can easily access archival collections to support research and learning. WIT Libraries, WIT’s Centre for INformation SYstems and TEchno-culture (INSYTE), and the Michael Cooley Laboratory will therefore work with DRI to preserve WIT’s rich cultural heritage collections for long-term access and enhanced discoverability. WIT is eager to benefit from DRI expertise and training as a DRI Member and to contribute to a collaborative community network of archivists, researchers, policy-makers, and other groups engaged in digital preservation.
Terry O’Brien, Head of Library and Information Services at Waterford Institute of Technology, said of the new partnership:
We are really pleased to become part of the DRI network. We look forward to expanding our national and international footprint with the DRI and Europeana, to ensure our special and unique collections are not just preserved but available to all our stakeholders, interested members of the public and the wider research community. Joining DRI is in keeping with our strategic goals and research profile and affords us the opportunity to enhance our knowledge and skills through training and collaboration. We very much look forward to working with DRI and utilising the DRI platform to start sharing our digitised materials. I wish to acknowledge the support of the WIT Research Support Unit, led by Vice-President & Head of Research Dr. Mark White in supporting and partnering on this initiative.
DRI Director Natalie Harrower welcomed DRI’s latest member:
We are very pleased to welcome WIT in the growing community of higher education institutions that make up a key part of DRI’s membership, and look forward to stewarding some of their unique and wonderfully varied collections. We also look forward to building broader support for the institutes of technology sector, and are particularly excited to partner with WIT in this respect, as their track record in collaborative research and system-wide training inspires us to provide greater support from a national preservation perspective.
DRI looks forward to working with WIT to preserve their collections and maximise the reach of their research data over the coming months. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for updates on collection publications!