Irish Literature's New Home. Your Laptop

Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2010 | Go to article overview

Irish Literature's New Home. Your Laptop


QUESTION What is the CELT library at University College Cork? THE CELT online project at University College Cork is designed to bring the wealth of Irish literary, historical and other cultural material to the internet in a very scholarly, but at the same time user-friendly way that's easily accessed and searched. The name stands for Corpus of Electronic Texts.

Topics in the database cover contemporary and historical subjects from many areas, including literature. The texts are taken from the best possible printed editions, provided that copyright permission exists, and those texts are then scanned.

Conversions are made to HTML, for online reading, while the master files can be used to create other text formats.

The whole project developed from the close involvement in text projects over many years between the department of history and the computer centre at UCC.

It's the largest such computing project in Ireland and has been running for more than ten years. Back in 2000, CELT had 2million words of text available, but now more than 13million words are in the database.

The project gets more than 10million requests for pages annually.

Much of the funding for the project has come from the Higher Education Authority, while UCC itself provides technical support, funding and benefits in kind.

Now, CELT has more than 1,100 contemporary and historical documents detailing many aspects of Irish life over the centuries.

Many specific areas have been included in the database, everything from a Lexicon of Medieval Irish to the works of Ireland's finest Anglo-Irish writers from the 17th to 19th centuries. This year, it is adding yet more texts in Irish to its database.

The project's research manager, Beatrix Faerber, says that during 2010 they are continuing to make about 100,000 additional words of XML-encoded texts available every month, and all the new additions are advertised on the project's news page as they become available.

About 500 of the texts available on CELT are in English, while a similar number are in Irish.

A few are in Latin and in Hiberno-Norman French, while one is in Spanish.

Just more than 100 of the texts are translations, mostly in English, while some Irish language texts contain an English translation.

The work of volunteers is essential, and currently volunteers are being sought who can proofread early modern English documents, Latin sources and Early Modern and Middle Irish texts.

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Irish Literature's New Home. Your Laptop
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