‘Big Data’ to open up wealth of treasures in the RTÉ Archives

Professor Mark Ferguson, Bríd Dooley, Professor Stefan Decker, Dr. Sandra Collins and Minister Alan Shatter, TD
Apr 09 2013 Posted: 10:34 IST

Summary: RTÉ Archives announce an ambitious collaboration with the newly announced SFI “Big Data” Research Centre called INSIGHT and the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), which will be carried out in DERI (NUI Galway) at INSIGHT, to develop an innovative semantic content discovery platform to open up the treasures of the RTÉ Archives.

At the 2013 European Data Forum in Dublin, Head of RTÉ Archives Bríd Dooley, together with Professor Stefan Decker (INSIGHT and Director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway), and Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland, announced an ambitious, ground-breaking collaboration to develop an innovative cross-archival semantic content discovery platform as part of the new SFI INSIGHT data analytics centre, a joint initiative between UCD, NUI Galway, UCC and DCU.

Opening the event, Alan Shatter TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, said: “A key part of the Irish Government’s plan for growth and jobs is identifying areas where we believe Ireland can compete and win on the global stage.”

Minister Shatter added: “One such sector where our ambition is to be amongst the world’s best is in ‘Big Data’ and its analytics. The Irish Government believes that given our climate, educational and skills base and our existing major strengths in ICT, we can benefit significantly in terms of quality jobs and growth from the global expansion of this sector.”

“Analysing this explosion of data will revolutionise industries such as manufacturing and pharmaceutical production to further develop Europe's data economy and create good sustainable jobs in Ireland.”

Minister Shatter also spoke of the “need for a coherent and practical set of Data Protection rules at National and European Union levels”. Referring to the “new, and increasingly common, risks for privacy” that arise from technological advances, he emphasised the importance of ensuring “that Data Protection standards keep pace with the emerging technologies and new business models”. Progressing the new EU Data Protection regulation and securing agreement on its content he stated is “a priority of the Irish Presidency of the European Union.”

Minister Shatter concluded by saying: “Importantly, Big Data will have a huge societal impact with projects such as that proposed by the new Insight research centre in partnership with RTÉ Digital to explore the RTÉ archives, and open up avenues to investigate our cultural, historical, sporting and linguistic heritage and provide us with deep insights into what it means to be Irish.”

Speaking during the Opening Session of EDF2013, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The Big Data sector is growing by 40% annually and as a nation we must ensure that we are developing the specialised skills needed to remain globally competitive. INSIGHT is a new national research centre in the field of data analytics that brings together the leading players from academia and industry in Ireland. This new SFI Research Centre will undertake research and develop new technologies that will attract dynamic partnerships with industry, further leverage investment for Europe, and ultimately help create high value jobs in Ireland and deliver economic and societal impact.”

Big Data is a global challenge that asks us to turn vast quantities of ubiquitous raw data into knowledge that will inform people and improve society, business, and health. The Irish Government, under the stewardship of Science Foundation Ireland, is making a major investment in Insight, the mega research centre that will use world-class data analytics to address Big Data. Minister Bruton, TD and Minister Sherlock, TD, announced this ground-breaking initiative in February 2013.

RTÉ is a partner in the INSIGHT research centre, and Bríd Dooley will work with Professor Stefan Decker (INSIGHT) and Dr Sandra Collins (Royal Irish Academy) to bring together the skills and experience of the internationally recognised semantic web and linked data centre and the national trusted digital repository, with the rich essence and curation skills of RTÉ, to open up the wealth of treasures in the RTÉ Archives.

Commenting on the project, Bríd Dooley, Head of RTÉ Archives, a division of RTÉ Digital, said: “Our key priorities at RTÉ Digital are to meet the needs of audiences now and in the future through innovation and technology, and by playing an active role within the Digital Economy. As RTÉ Archives is a national resource and a hugely valuable asset to the public, we cannot underestimate the significance of this partnership with the INSIGHT Centre and the Digital Repository of Ireland. Our vision is to enable RTÉ to further step-change its ability to meet audience needs and to provide a much richer discovery, analysis and access gateway to this culturally and historically important material through digital means.”

Dr Sandra Collins added: “This is a very important collaboration for the Digital Repository of Ireland. Preservation and access to our nation’s cultural and social heritage is our mission, and a critical part of this is the technology solutions to discover archival content – the essence that informs the narrative. In the age of Big Data, discovering the content, information and knowledge you want requires cross-disciplinary research, and partnering with RTÉ and INSIGHT is a wonderful opportunity to advance the state of the art.”

Professor Stefan Decker, also speaking at the conference, added that: “Linked data technologies are enabling the liberation of value out of archives. We are excited to do this research with RTÉ, transitioning the technologies into practise and contributing to society.”



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