In 2011 the Royal Irish Academy published Saint Patrick’s writings in a freely accessible form online at www.confessio.ie both in the original Latin and in a variety of modern languages, including Irish. There is an introductory video. “The project provides facsimiles and transcriptions of the extant manuscript testimonies and digital versions of relevant editions – from the editio princeps of 1656 up to the canonical version of the critical text, established in the scholarly edition by Ludwig Bieler in 1951” (see DHO). For more information on the website, click here where the question is also asked, “Is the book any longer really the most appropriate medium for exploring and representing such a highly complex thing as textual tradition – even though books were the very medium by which the tradition has reached us? Unsurprisingly, the answer given here can only be no”. Whether or not you agree, the multi-layered Confessio hypertext stack is testimony to the power of digitisation for the transmission of historical texts.
“The records of the Irish Chancery were destroyed on 30 June 1922 in an explosion and fire in the Public Record Office of Ireland, located at the Four Courts, Dublin. Among the most important classes of record destroyed were the medieval Irish Chancery Rolls… CIRCLE is the culmination of nearly four decades of work reconstructing these lost records…The site contains over 20,000 Irish chancery letters translated from Latin into English, together with an unparalleled collection of digital images of surviving medieval chancery letters and rare printed volumes.” [From CIRCLE Home page]
Today’s Document is a free mobile app available in the Android marketplace and Apple iTunes Store. It is an interactive gallery that allows you to explore the holdings of the US National Archives through a collection of 365 documents and photographs. Tap the “info” icon to read background information on the document and link to related websites. You can share any of the documents via email, Facebook and Twitter.
Treasures is a British Library app highlighting over 100 documents, including literary, historical, music-related and scientific items – alongside illuminated manuscripts and sacred texts. There are audio excerpts and nearly 50 WiFi-served videos. See BL’s promotional YouTube video. There is a charge for Treasures. It is available across multiple mobile platforms: iPhone, Android and, in an HD version, the iPad.
This database is maintained by the University of California, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. It is a work in progress. Basic information about a manuscript is fully searchable and users can browse through the complete contents of the database. If you search by language and choose, for example, Irish there is currently information on 152 mss with links to each of them. This is a useful one-stop-shop index. Another useful link is Medieval manuscripts on the Web
The Harry Ransom Center in the University of Texas at Austin “advances the study of the arts by acquiring preserving and making accessible original materials”. It has a digital collection of medieval and early manuscripts including, for example, Jean Froissart’s Chroniques (bk 1), and three letters of Mary Queen of Scots. For American studies students the Centre houses the Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection and also The Itinerant Photographer with over 400 photographs of 1930s Corpus Christi businesses. There is a link to the Corpus Christi Public Libraries Digital Archives of over 3000 photographs.
Early Irish glossaries (Cormac, O’Mulconry, Druim Cett, Loman and Irsan) are important for those researching medieval Ireland. This electronic resource (beta version) provides transcriptions, tools for generating concordances, a bibliography, a list of abbreviations and a search option.
As well as the digitised Irish manuscripts in Irish Script on Screen / Meamram Páipéar Ríomhaire, there are also Irish digitised MSS in the Early Manuscripts at Oxford University. For example, Corpus Christi College has The Corpus Irish Missal, 12th century (MS 282). The Bodleian Library has , Verses and Tales in Irish, transcribed 1799-1819 (MS. Ir. e. 4); Poems in Irish ascribed to or about St. Columba (Colum Cille), first half of the 16th century (MS Laud, Misc. 615); and the Rawlinson manuscripts among which are the Annals of Tigernach (MS. Rawl, B. 488). These are important primary materials for students of Irish language or culture.
Irish Script on Screen / Meamram Páipéar Ríomhaire, is a project of the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. The object is to create digital images of Irish manuscripts to give them maximum exposure. Manuscript images are available in small and large jpgs. Some of the collaborating libraries include TCD ( The Book of Lecan); The National Library of Ireland (The Book of Magauran); The National Library of Scotland (The Book of the Dean of Lismore). This primary material will be of interest to language students and those interested in Irish culture.