Because good research needs good data

Introducing the IDCC2020 Keynotes - Dr Sandra Collins

Diana Sisu | 20 January 2020

Interview by Timea Biro, Project Manager, Digital Repository of Ireland Royal Irish Academy

Dr Sandra Collins is the Director of the National Library of Ireland. The NLI collects and makes available the recorded memory of Ireland, caring for more than 10 million items including books, newspapers, manuscripts, ephemera, photographs and digital media. Dr Collins is originally a mathematician and has worked in digital innovation and cultural heritage over 20 years in the public and private sectors. She was previously the founding Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland in the Royal Irish Academy and a Scientific Programme Manager in the Irish funding agency Science Foundation Ireland. She is a member of the Council of the Research Data Alliance, the Irish National Open Research Forum, the Consortium of National and University Libraries in Ireland, and the Irish Government’s Expert Advisory Group for Commemorations. She has served on a number of European Commission Expert Advisory Groups including Research Infrastructures and FAIR data. Dr Collins and the organisation she leads are committed to supporting culture for everyone, open data, diversity and inclusion and what that means for collecting and curating the memory of a nation.

Collecting and Curating the National Memory

"So much of our national memory is recorded in digital format and is gravely at risk right now. In 100 years from now, in 1000 years, what we collect and curate now will shape the national memory in the future and tell the story of humanity." — Dr Sandra Collins

The National Library is a memory keeper for its country, collecting and keeping safe memories that share the culture, heritage and story of a nation. Memories can be subjective and interpretive, and keeping the authentic memory object is vital. Memory objects can be photographs, manuscripts, letters, ephemera - but contemporary memory objects are increasingly ‘born digital’ and they can be challenging to collect and keep safe as digital technologies become obsolete quickly and the quantity of digital content grows exponentially.

The National Library of Ireland is working to make a more diverse and inclusive story of Ireland, so that new voices are collected and shared with the world. Dr Sandra Collins will explore the importance of physical and digital collecting and the challenge of digital preservation, and the importance of inclusive and representative curation, motivated by the memory keeping we all do on a personal and family level.

"In a world awash with data, digital curation has never been more important. I am really looking forward to the 15th IDCC conference and seeing the breadth of innovation in this important field." — Dr Sandra Collins

Dr Collins will be giving a keynote talk on the 19th of February at 16:00.

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