The abbey theatre digital archive: a digitization project with dramatic impact
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Cox, John (2017). The abbey theatre digital archive: a digitization project with dramatic impact. Insights the UKSG journal 30 (3), 20-30
National University of Ireland Galway digitized the archive of the Abbey Theatre between 2012 and 2015. This was the largest theatre archive digitization project worldwide and it has had a major impact on the University and its Library. The scale of the digitization project presented a series of challenges, including fragile material, limited time, streamlined workflows, complex digital rights management and effective systems. The project was completed on time and on budget in 2015, using a 'more product, less process' approach. Access to the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive has delivered strong academic impact for the University, generating new research income and international connections as well as contributing to improved institutional ranking. The Digital Archive enables new types of research, including text and data mining, and has reshaped undergraduate curricula. It has also had a transformative effect on the Library as leader of the project. The role of the archivist has changed and partnerships with the academic community have strengthened. A growing emphasis on digital publication has been a catalyst for a function-rather than subject-based organizational structure which promotes participation in digital scholarship initiatives, with archives and special collections occupying a new position of prominence.