Enthusiasms No 61|
A collection of shorter pieces on subjects of
interest, outrage or enthusiasm ...
A celebration to mark the 21st anniversary of the foundation of the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) / Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann was held in no 73 Merrion Square, Dublin, tonight, Tuesday 29 July 2008.
As one of a number of events to mark the 21st anniversary, a new Internet Initiative of the Archive which begins to make its unique catalogues available via the Internet was launched by Dr Olive Braiden, Chair of the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
Since its foundation, the ITMA has grown from a concept and an ideal without holdings or premises to become the largest collection in existence of the materials of Irish traditional music - sound recordings, books, sheet music, ballad sheets, videos, photographs, press cuttings, programmes, posters, etc. - and the largest collection in existence of information on the music.
It is now a national public archive and resource centre for all with an interest in the contemporary and historical artforms of Irish traditional song, instrumental music, and dance. Its collections are housed in a Georgian heritage building at 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, which has been restored for it by the Office of Public Works.
As well as collecting, preserving and organising Irish traditional music, the ITMA aims to make the multi-media materials and information it holds as widely available as possible to the general public, constrained only by copyright law and its own resources. Its collections are available for reference and free of charge to visitors to its premises. Guidance to the collections is given by staff, and general information and consultancy on the music. An information service is provided directly by phone, post and fax, and remotely through the ITMA website. Materials and information are also made available through lectures, exhibitions and publications by ITMA staff, and through the ITMA's extensive cooperation with the activities of others, including RTÉ Radio and Television, TG4 Television, The Journal of Music in Ireland, Na Píobairí Uilleann, the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Gael Linn, etc., etc.
The ITMA has built up its collection by donations, large and small, from hundreds of donors, by purchase and copying of material, and by its own field collection activities. It is funded primarily by the Arts Council/ An Chomhairle Ealaíon in Dublin and also by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in Belfast, and by individual donors, especially through its support group Friends of the Irish Traditional Music Archive. It receives project funding from sponsors such as the Heritage Council, Cairde na Cruite, and the Ireland Newfoundland Partnership.
To begin the next stage of its ongoing development and outreach, and to mark its 21st anniversary, the ITMA began the public phase of a new Internet Initiative on 29 July 2008.
This Initiative is in two parts:
A first tranche of these catalogue records, representing 1,500 initial samples from many of the categories of material held, is now available. The remaining records will be processed and made available on the Internet in two-monthly increments in the course of the coming months (for further information see www.itma.ie/Catalogues_&_Databases
2. Since the 1990s the Archive has been digitising its vulnerable sound recordings, printed materials and visual materials, for preservation and for public access.
An experimental programme of making copyright-free selections of these digitised materials available via the ITMA website has now also begun, free of charge, and will continue in two-monthly increments. The first items made available are cylinder sound recordings from the Irish diaspora, recorded c. 1900 in New York by the uilleann piper Patsy Touhey; 19th and 20th century Irish-interest ballad sheets bequeathed to the ITMA by the collector Leslie Shepard; and photographs and other images of traditional music practice which are part of an ITMA publishing cooperation with The Journal of Music in Ireland (for further information see www.itma.ie/Digitised_Materials).
I welcome the announcement of this Initiative of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, which will make available re-edited and reformatted catalogue records from its unique computerised databases world-wide through its website. The more people who can access and be inspired by what this collection preserves, the more the talent and passion contained in those records will inform and inspire the world of today.For further information contact the Archive at 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 (tel. 01-6619699, fax 01-6624585, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.itma.ie
Nicholas Carolan - 29.7.08
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