During uncertain times, access to physical spaces is not guaranteed and may be very restrictive. By having virtual/digital ways to access collections, UCC Library can provide both continued and increased access, irrespective of unusual or unforeseen circumstances.
This poster highlights a collaborative project accelerated since 2020 to provide and enhance access to rare and unique library collection items using emerging technologies.
Digital Learning Specialist
Special Collections Librarian
Sincere thanks to Cara Long and David Leen for their work on the below projects, Kian O'Mahony for his contributions to the Scalar project: 'Historical Recipes in the Digital Age,' and the following Special Collections and Archives staff: Emer Twomey (Archivist), Emma Horgan (Archivist), John Rooney (Senior Library Assistant) and Garret Cahill (Senior Library Assistant).
Working on these various projects throughout the last 8 months has helped us to develop and learn lots of new skills which will now help us leaving college and starting our careers. These projects have helped us to develop digital fluency. We now have digital literacy and more experience in technology. This will help us for our future careers in BIS and Law. We are now able to troubleshoot technical problems whether it be with software like Scalar and H5P or physical 3D printers. These projects encouraged us to become comfortable with a wide array of programmes and technology relatively quickly.
#ColourOurCollections is an annual international colouring festival in February on social media where libraries, museums, archives and other cultural institutions share free colouring content featuring images from their collections.
UCC Library’s The Riverside participated in 2022 to spread awareness and better engagement with our collections by inspiring creativity, sparking curiosity and as a means for bibliotherapy.
UCC Library’s colouring book (2022) will remain accessible year-round for free download.
Download the file: UCC Library, University College Cork Coloring Book 2022 or view the online Pressbook.
While making the colouring book we enjoyed using PowerPoint to input images from Special Collections and Archives in UCC Library and creating a nicely displayed colouring book to be published for others to use and colour. To create the virtual colouring book, we used Pressbooks to insert the pictures and format the index of the colouring book. I really enjoyed using Pressbooks as it was extremely easy to navigate and took very little learning to use efficiently. I also found Pressbooks to be visually appealing and definitely the best tool we could have used to create the colouring book. It was slightly difficult to get the formatting of each page of the colouring book identical as the pictures were various sizes.
UCC Library's Special Collections contains a significant body of Cork newspapers. Those from the 18th century are particularly valuable – in some cases, they are the only surviving copies. These newspapers contain advertisements – the main source of income for the printer.
As a way to bring the past into the present, a 360° tour of businesses advertised in The Corke Journal from 1769 and The Corke Chronicle from 1770-1772 was created. This tour shows the approximate locations of a variety of businesses.
The 360° Tours project was fun. Throughout the 360° Tours project we enjoyed walking around the city and finding the modern locations of old businesses. We also enjoyed using the 360° camera and learning to operate it. Seeing how the city has changed and what buildings used to operate as was very insightful. We interacted with curious people inquiring about the 360° cameras. The only downfall of the 360° Tours project was that it was completely weather dependent to be completed. The project also needed 2 people to be present, therefore the project took longer than anticipated as it rained quite often. The project that we enjoyed the most was the 360° Tour. We were using H5P, which was very easy to use, it was very insightful and helped us to create the tour easily. [...] We enjoyed leaving the office to go on walks to take the 360° pictures when the weather allowed, and we met some lovely people on our ventures out to take our pictures. We also enjoyed learning more about the city, and what businesses were operating in olden times.
Accessing a paper historic manuscript recipe book is limited to where it is held and when that repository is open. Using Scalar (an open source, web-based publishing platform) allowed us to make and visualise connections between different recipes, connections that are not so readily identifiable using paper manuscript recipe books.
Students created a digital interpretation of paper manuscript recipe books in ‘Historical Recipes in the Digital Age’, selecting and transcribing what were for them the most readable recipes.
We enjoyed using Scalar to create an interactive and virtual book to display historic recipes. We enjoyed deciphering the hand-written recipe as challenging as it was, it was rewarding to translate the recipes into Scalar. We found the process of learning and navigating our way through Scalar very challenging and inconsistent. It isn’t an intuitive tool therefore the project took longer than expected.
3D scanning analyses a real-world object to collect data which can then be used to construct digital 3D models. UCC Library purchased an EinScan-SP desktop scanner and a selection of objects from Special Collections, such as date stamps, keys and parchment fragments were 3D scanned.
The scanner will be made available to University staff and students as a service to enhance research and experiential learning.
We really enjoyed the 3D Scanning project as we interacted and scanned many interesting historic objects from Special Collections in UCC Library. It was very satisfying to have a successful 3D Scan of the objects which was then able to 3D print. There was a difficulty in scanning large, dark or flat objects. There were quite a lot of limitations on the type of objects that the scanner would pick up, therefore causing limitations for us throughout the project.
While the four examples use material from Special Collections, they serve as an example of what is possible. The digital tools and platforms used are not limited to unique and distinctive collections but can be applied to all types of collections and material.