RTÉ Archives recently announced an ambitious collaboration with the newly announced Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) “Big Data” Research Centre called INSIGHT.
The SFI INSIGHT data analytics centre is a joint initiative between UCD, NUI Galway, UCC and DCU. The RTÉ collaboration with INSIGHT and the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) will be carried out in the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI NUI Galway) at INSIGHT, to develop an innovative semantic content discovery platform to open up the treasures of the RTÉ Archives.
The Government, under the stewardship of SFI, announced its intention to make a major investment in INSIGHT in February 2013.
However, on Tuesday April 9, at the European Data Forum in Dublin, Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, Head of RTÉ Archives Bríd Dooley and Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland announced the plans to develop the innovative cross-archival semantic content discovery platform.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter stated that the Government had identified ‘big data’ and analytics as key areas for job growth in the economy adding that “analysing this explosion of data will revolutionise industries such as manufacturing and pharmaceutical production to further develop Europe’s data economy and create good sustainable jobs in Ireland.”
While referring to the continuing importance of data protection legislation in conjunction with such advances, Minister Shatter also cited the ‘huge societal impact’ of a project such as this as it will “open up avenues to investigate our cultural, historical, sporting and linguistic heritage and provide us with deep insights into what it means to be Irish.”
RTÉ is a partner in the INSIGHT centre and through Head of Archives Bríd Dooley will co-ordinate the work of this partnership with Professor Decker (INSIGHT) and Dr Sandra Collins (Digital Repository of Ireland).
According to Ms. Dooley, as RTÉ Archives constitutes a division of RTÉ Digital, it is a ‘key priority’ of the latter to play ‘an active role in the Digital economy’ while this project centres on the valuable public resource which is the RTÉ archive collection.
he went on to say; “Our vision is to enable RTÉ to further step-change its ability to meet audience needs and to provide a much richer discovery, analysis and access gateway to this culturally and historically important material through digital means.”
Other speakers such as SFI Director General Dr. Mark Ferguson spoke of the growth of the ‘big data’ sector. Speaking on behalf of the DRI, Dr. Collins, enthused that the scheme fitted with the Repository’s mission of ‘preservation and access to our nation’s cultural and social heritage’ and the kind of cross-disciplinary research opened up through partnership with INSIGHT and RTÉ represents a ‘wonderful opportunity’.
Linked data technologies are crucial in modern archival work in the opinion of Dr. Decker and the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, NUI Galway, is excited at the prospect of “transitioning the technologies into practise and contributing to society,” he added.