Born Digital

The National Library of Ireland works to develop our unique, living national collection. A strategic priority for 2016-2021 is to become a leader in digital collecting and delivery. A key way of achieving this goal is through innovation and by implementing new approaches to collecting born-digital content for Ireland. The Library is working on a pilot project to expand the ways it collects the ‘born-digital’ story of Ireland – allowing content like digital documents and photographs to become part of the national collections, alongside the books, manuscripts, newspapers and other physical items that Library has been collecting since 1877.  This project is in response to the challenge of collecting, preserving and making available Irish digital content which is growing at an unprecedented rate, and which is in huge danger of loss. It also arose in recognition of our role as an Irish memory institution in a digital age.

The pilot project is designed to collect born digital content and manage it from acquisition through to making it available to the public as part of a full collection management lifecycle. We aim to develop, document and trial workflows around a number of different content types including both textual and visual material in the form of digital photographs. We will obtain this content from a number of different collection types ranging from personal collections to organisational collections, and will work with our donors, through all the relevant stages of the project.

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
Bestselling and award-winning Irish author, Marian Keyes is the first donor to work with the Library as part of this initiative. The first pilot collection relates to the publication of Keyes’s novel The Mystery of Mercy Close, and includes book cover samples, drafts and pre-proofs – some with editor’s comments; videos of the author discussing characters in the book, as well as her writing process; and promotional material, social media interactions, and a timeline of the novel.

The Yes Equality Visual Digital Archive
The Yes Equality Visual Digital Archive comes ahead of the fifth anniversary of the marriage equality referendum in Ireland in May 2020. The archive is a visual record of the activities of Yes Equality and comprises over 6,000 photographs commissioned by the organisation. It documents various aspects of the campaign including activities that tell the personal stories of campaigners and their families and friends, voting day and post-result celebrations.

For more information on the pilot projects please contact: or

Digital Photography: Create, Curate and Save

On 23rd Sept 2019 the National Library of Ireland held an event exploring the need for preservation of digital photography in the 21st century. Here are some selected resources on digital photography and digital preservation:

Digital Photography and Digital Preservation   Digital Photography and Digital Preservation - Resources.pdf (0.48 MB, Adobe PDF)