Interdisciplinary Processes at Digital Repository Ireland (DRI)

Rebecca Grant - Digital Repository IrelandSinéad Redmond - Maynooth University

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) is an interactive, trusted digital repository for social and cultural content held by Irish institutions. By providing a central internet access point and interactive multimedia tools, the DRI facilitates engagement with contemporary and historical data, allowing the public, students, and scholars to research Ireland’s cultural heritage and social life in ways never before possible. The DRI is also acting as a focal point for digital best practices by collaborating on the development of guidelines, and working to inform national policy on digital preservation and access.

The DRI was launched in 2011, when it received funding from the Irish Government's PRTLI cycle 5 for €5.2M over four years. The Royal Irish Academy is the lead partner in the DRI consortium, which is also composed of the following partners: National University of Ireland Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology), National University of Ireland Galway, and National College of Art and Design. The DRI Research Consortium are currently collaborating with a network of cultural, social, academic and industry partners, including the National Library of Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland and RTÉ.

In this paper we will describe the development of the innovative interdisciplinary processes and procedures put in place during the building of the DRI and how they are implemented to ensure that a fit for purpose digital repository for the humanities and social sciences is delivered by the end of the project. We will start by giving a summary of the structures of the DRI. We will then briefly describe how the initial work of the requirements gathering process and interviews established the key needs of the project, and from there explore how the multidisciplinary team that make up the DRI staff input into the tracking and fulfilment of these requirements. We will discuss the creation of taskforces and working groups across the project, illustrated by the example of the Metadata Taskforce. We will describe, with a focus on the interdisciplinary work involved, how a key output of this taskforce, the Metadata Crosswalk, was translated into a Ruby gem of the data model for the repository to store the humanities and social sciences data it receives for ingest. We will finish by describing the ongoing validation and verification processes, including user acceptance testing and stakeholder consultation, that take place project-wide to ensure the final delivery of a repository that fulfils the needs of the Irish community of data holders in the humanities and social sciences.