The Ask about Ireland website is an online cultural, educational and environmental resource with over thirty general interest topics showcasing national datasets and the local studies collections from all library authorities. Material of particular public interest is selected from their holdings within a variety of common topics ranging from sport, history, science and architecture to flora and fauna, Irish language, art, crafts, music, folklore and Irish writers. The material is digitised (scanned, digitally photographed, recorded) and set in a narrative context. There are 32 local authority remote access user accounts for content creation and general user upload. The Libraries Development team provides training and support on content creation and upload to the site for all library authority content creators.
AskAboutIreland.ie is a constantly growing resource with content being added to the website on an ongoing basis. The site has an average of 42,000 visits weekly. The website contains a Learning Zone for children of all ages with animations, ebooks, songs, educational games, interactives, video clips and curriculum content for primary and secondary students and teachers. The content is organised in sections for each subject and class group. The Learning Zone is developed in collaboration with the NCTE, NCCA and PDST, trialled with schools and fully accredited by the Department of Education and Science. As a main educational resource for schools, the Learning Zone content is also available as a federated search on Scoilnet.ie. The team runs professional development courses for primary and secondary teachers on library resources for schools at the regional education centres throughout the country.
The Ask about Ireland site also includes the Griffith’s Valuation service which provides free access to the most important 19th century local history resource for Ireland. The Valuation includes over 1.5 million records of tenants and landlords from the mid 1800s for the whole country. Each record is linked to a detailed nineteenth century map of Ireland with markings for houses, out-houses and ownership boundaries for every townland in the country. Each piece of land and plot is marked on the map, and the owners and tenants are identified. Griffith’s Valuation can be accessed on the public libraries’ website www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation
The site also features an Ebooks section providing access to over five hundred historical ebooks from the 1700s onwards. Books can be searched by county or by subject and include topics such as the history and geography of Ireland, education, folklore, music and poetry.
AskAboutIreland.ie is supported by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government with funding from the Information Society Fund. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org