September 2021 marks ten years since the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) commenced as a four-year project, under the PRTLI (Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions) Cycle 5 funding scheme. In the last decade, DRI has moved from project to certified national infrastructure and research hub, has welcomed 34 members, has served both cultural heritage organisations and the research/higher education sector in Ireland, and has integrated itself into a wide range of European and international networks on digital preservation, digital archiving, and data sharing. It’s been a whirlwind, but it has also been a lot of fun!
To mark this anniversary, we would really like to have a big party and invite all our members, board, alumni, stakeholders, funders, and the collaborators we’ve met along the way, and celebrate the massive national collective effort that has gone into building a digital repository for arts, humanities and social sciences data, for all of Ireland. But the numbers might reach the thousands, and alas, the pandemic has not sufficiently left our shores. So instead, we are going to celebrate the way many of our colleagues near and far have been celebrating over the last 18 months: we’ll do it online (we are digital, after all).
Image: A major milestone: DRI launches to the public in June 2015. Pictured: DRI staff at the launch at Croke Park, Dublin.
Over the next ten weeks, we will be releasing weekly blogs by DRI staff members that reflect on various milestones over these last ten years. The blogs will look at how requirements were gathered for the Repository, from many of the same stakeholders we continue to work with today, and also how we’ve worked to continually build and shape those requirements and implement new technologies, in line with international best practice and community needs. It will reflect on the first collections we published, and the research projects we’ve undertaken that have built internal capacity, expanded our offerings, and taught us a lot about the continually evolving fields of digital preservation, archiving, and curation. It’s hard to believe that our launch to the public, which also launched our conference series DPASSH (Digital Preservation for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities), was over six years ago! Since then, we’ve launched a successful membership model, continued our advocacy for open practices, and deepened our engagement with Open Research and FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) data sharing. We have also continued to make outreach, education, and collaboration central to our operations, and we are grateful for how much we learn from our depositors and users, from the diverse communities we engage with, and from the partnerships we build.
I hope that if you are reading this you can raise a glass in celebration with us! Enjoy the blogs, and if you are intrigued by anything you read, drop us a line – we’re always up for working together.