National Library increases its exposure by sharing pictures on Google platform

Jimmy Deenihan says Government will consider a virtual museum

Mirjana Rendulic from Croatia with a tablet displaying an image from the archive. Photograph: Frank Miller

Mirjana Rendulic from Croatia with a tablet displaying an image from the archive. Photograph: Frank Miller


An online collaboration between the National Library of Ireland and Google could be the first step in the creation of a virtual Irish museum, it was claimed yesterday.

The National Library has digitised items from three of its past photography exhibitions and made them available free online on the Google Cultural Institute.

The cultural institute provides a platform for museums, galleries and other institutions to showcase digital copies of their items. It has already worked with hundreds of institutions internationally.

“What this does is it allows us to take advantage of the platform that’s there to put those photographs online . . . and bring them to the attention of people all over the world,” said Katherine McSharry, head of services at the library.

‘Tip of the iceberg’
She said the library intends to make significantly more items available. “The National Library has 5.3 million photographs so that’s definitely the tip of the iceberg; the plan is to facilitate as much of the material as possible, ultimately millions and millions of items,” she said.

A spokeswoman from Google said the company hopes to work with other museums and galleries here. “The mission behind the cultural institute is to make national cultural treasures as assessable and useful as possible. So from our point of view, the more people who have more access to these products, these exhibits . . . the better for everyone. We’re very keen to continue working on this here in Ireland,” she said.

Also speaking at the announcement, Minister for Culture Jimmy Deenihan said the Government was examining the possibility of creating a virtual Irish museum, incorporating artefacts from the National Museum of Ireland.

He said that the National Library project was an example of how such a virtual museum could be created with the co-operation of the likes of Google. “I hope to have a report on that shortly,” he said.