by ehistoryadmin on October 7, 2016

PRESS RELEASE issued by Fiontar, DCU
Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly 22 September 2016
The complete Schools’ Collection and Meitheal  launched by Minister of State, Seán Kyne
The entire Schools’ Collection on and the crowdsourcing tool Meitheal have been officially launched by Seán Kyne TD, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co. Offaly (Wednesday, 21 September).
The Schools’ Collection, an important component of the National Folklore Collection, UCD, contains the folklore material recorded by primary school pupils between 1937 and 1939. It consists of almost half a million pages recorded by around 5,000 primary school pupils throughout the 26 counties. These pages are kept in the Collection’s archive in UCD. The volumes from the Schools’ Collection have been published on dú on a county by county basis since the end of 2013. Now with the publication of material from Co. Cork and Co. Offaly, all volumes from the Collection, covering all 26 counties that took part in the Schools’ Scheme, are available to the public in digital form on dú
A special feature of the site is Meitheal Dú, a crowdsourced transcription initiative. At the beginning of 2015, the public was invited to help dú by transcribing the text of the Irish-language stories in the Schools’ Collection. Since the start of this year, every story in the collection, both Irish and English, is available for transcription and a dedicated community of transcribers eagerly undertake this work. To date the voluntary transcribers of the Meitheal have transcribed over 35,000 pages – which makes Meitheal Dú one of the most successful crowdsourcing projects of its kind in the world. is a crowdsourcing tool for pooling, storing and sharing data about minor placenames.

Meitheal gives users the opportunity to promote the toponymic heritage of the country in the digital age by mapping and sharing minor placenames online. This will enable the preservation of minor placenames, and minor placename data as well as raising public awareness on the subject. Meitheal is a separate website to but there is a facility for users to switch easily between the two websites using tabs at the top of the screen.
It’s very easy to add a placename to the website, simply pick a place on the map, select the type of placename from the dropdown menu, add the placename in Irish or in English and include any other information you may have about the placename. There is a comprehensive guide to adding a placename available in the information pages of Meitheal Additional functions will be added to the website in the near future, e.g. a tool which will allow users to record the pronunciation of a placename. Seán Kyne, TD, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, said, ‘There is rich information on the Meitheal website, from the names of hills and and rivers to those of ringforts and graveyards. I am proud that the Placenames Branch in my own Department is involved with this project and that the Department intends to develop the website further in the future. I am also delighted to launch the final two counties of the Schools’ Folklore Collection. This wonderful resource is now available to the public in its entirety. It is of great importance not only as a primary source for the academic researcher but also as a treasure trove for everyone around the world who has an interest in Ireland.’
The dú project is developed by Fiontar agus Scoil na Gaeilge, the Irish-medium teaching and research unit in DCU, and the National Folklore Collection in UCD, one of the largest folklore collections in the world. The project is jointly financed by UCD and the Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs with support from the National Lottery. The objective of the project is to digitize the National Folklore Collection and make it available to the public online. and are developed by Fiontar agus Scoil na Gaeilge, an Irish-medium teaching and research unit in DCU, in collaboration with the Placenames Branch of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The project is funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs with support from the National Lottery.

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