NUI Galway is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Irish theatre. Its James Hardiman Library is the home to an extraordinarily rich collection of Irish theatre archives, including the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive, the Lyric Players Theatre, Druid Theatre, Galway Arts Festival, Macnas, Thomas Kilroy, Siobhan McKenna, and more. 

The university also offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Drama and Theatre studies, which cover theatre practice and research, including archival studies. In 2016, the university is launching a new MA in Irish Theatre History and Archives.

For information about Drama courses, see

For information about archives see:

The Project

The Abbey Theatre Minute Books collection was created using NUI Galway Library technology for digital collections. The work was carried out as a partnership between the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance and the Library in NUI Galway. The Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance provided leadership and transcriptions; while the Library provided technology, preservation, metadata, and technical project management.

Each minute book has been transcribed to an Extensible Markup Language (XML) schema named Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Schema. TEI is an accepted standard for the representation of texts in digital form. The Library’s digital collections platform allows users to create and view manuscripts as well as other digital objects. This project involved the uploading of TEI and matching manuscript documents (the Abbey Theatre Minute Books). The digital collections' platform allows research, library, and administrative users to upload EXtensible Stylesheet Language (XSLT) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to transform and style the TEI as a Web page. The collection provides access to both the transcribed text and the original manuscript text displayed in a side-by-side searchable manner.

The Technologies

  • Fedora Commons: provides the backend repository to store and manage all of the unique digital material.
  • Islandora: provides functionality via modules to deal with different content types.
  • Drupal: provides access to the site via a front end, access layer.
  • Solr: provides the search functionality, including the functionality to ‘Refine’ your search.