Clare County Library Shortlisted For Excellence In Local Government Awards

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Wed Oct 17 2007

Two Clare County Library projects relating to the development of an online photographic database and the digitisation of rare historic maps have been shortlisted for awards, which will be announced at a special function in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin on 8th November.

The Chambers of Commerce of Ireland (CCI) established the awards in 2004 to acknowledge and encourage best practice and constructive initiatives by local authorities and also to enhance the positive relationships that already exist between chambers, businesses and their respective local authorities.

Commenting in the photographic project entitled 'Foto', Noel Crowley, Clare County Librarian explained, "Launched in August 2004, Foto is an online image database contains over 8,000 images and made available through our Library’s website at Initially, the project concentrated on digitising the photographic collections held by the Library. Later, the library commissioned an amateur photographer with an interest in archeology to take photographs. Also, a number of photographers have come forward and offered their collections for inclusion in the project."

The collections date from the beginning of the 20th century and cover topics like archaeology, architecture, railways, landscape, flora, postcards, mortuary cards, gravestones and people.

The naming of unidentified people and places in some of the photographs may be undertaken by members of the public through an electronic form on the website. A large number of website users have been in touch to fill in the names of people they recognise in the photographs.

Mr. Crowley said, "In addition, the library contacts schools and individuals to help in identification. The library allows the public to download and print free, any images of which the library holds copyright. The online photographs have captured the interest and imagination of many and encouraged a dialogue between the library and many of its clients. The Library plans to continue sourcing suitable photographic collections for Foto."

The second project shortlisted is a maps project called 'Historical Maps of County Clare'. Made available online at, the project began in July 2004 when Clare County Library decided to build an Internet Geographical Information System for the users of Clare County Library's website. The project is based on the 1842 Ordnance Survey 6-Inch maps of County Clare, which are integrated with other online resources available on the website.

"More than 2,000 pages – one for each Clare townland - and a page for each of the 6,000 recorded monuments in the county were created in conjunction with this project", stated Mr. Crowley.

He continued, "In August 2006 Clare County Library added the Clare Grand Jury Maps (1787) and Petty Maps (1658-9 & 1685), and in February 2007 the David Rumsey maps of Clare were added to the project. By their nature, maps are rare and difficult to access or copy. Providing digital versions help overcome these difficulties. Rainer Kosbi, a software engineer based in Mayo, converted the Ordnance Survey maps to SVG."

"The aim is to provide free and unlimited access to a digital map collection comprising a variety of historical County Clare maps, integrated with the wealth of historical and archeological data on the library website. These projects are managed by Maureen Comber and Anthony Edwards", he added.

"Log on to and see for yourself the wealth of information about County Clare that is now available at the click of a button. With a minimum of financial outlay, Clare County Library has added a new and dynamic element to its website, and, by utilising technology it has provided worldwide access to fragile materials", concluded Mr. Crowley.


Note to Editor:
To arrange an interview please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 086-8534900 or

Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
County Clare
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