GLAMi nomination: Beyond 2022: Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury

nominated by: Breffni O'Malley, Noho, Ireland
institution: Trinity College Dublin
category: Groundbreaking
www.beyond2022.ie

Overview

On 30 June 1922, at the outset of the Irish Civil War, a cataclysmic explosion and fire destroyed the Public Record Office of Ireland at the Four Courts, Dublin. Flames and heat consumed seven centuries of Ireland’s recorded history, stored in a magnificent six-storey Victorian repository known as the Record Treasury.

On the centenary of the 1922 blaze, Beyond 2022 will unveil Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury​—a digital reconstruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland building and its collections.

Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury​ will serve both as essential platform for academic research and a public resource with global reach and impact.

For more please see www.beyond2022.ie

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Description of work

This international, collaborative project seeks to ensure a lasting and meaningful legacy, by delivering the following:

  1. Virtual and augmented-reality reconstruction – A detailed reconstruction of the destroyed Record Treasury will be built from original plans and documentary sources, containing engaging content for users of all ages and interests.
  2. Inventory of loss and survival – The Beyond 2022 team is working to assemble a complete inventory of loss and survival of the 1922 fire. This will serve as a vital hub to connect the lost records with substitute sources in archives and libraries around the world.
  3. ‘Gold seams’ of substitute sources – Beyond 2022 seeks to identify ‘gold seams’ of substitute sources. A gold seam is a critical mass of rich, substitute sources that relate to a historically significant series of destroyed records.
  4. Digitisations – Beyond 2022 is bringing Ireland’s Public Record Office back to life by creating a 3D virtual reality reconstruction of the destroyed Record Treasury building and refilling its shelves with fully-searchable surviving documents and copies of the lost records.

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Current status

The first phase of the project was launched in February 2018. This involved construction of the VR environment, identification of ‘Gold seams’, digitisation of key records and publication of the project website. Ongoing work includes the development of the Inventory of Loss and Survival and further development and population of the VR environment with archival sources.

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Project team

Noho are the creative and technical partner on the Beyond 2002 project. It built the 3D model of the Public Record Office, developed the VR environment, and designed and developed the project branding and website.