We will chart our progress and relay information about our journey as we catalogue the amazing collection held within Martello Tower #2 in Howth.
A bit of background… This project was begun after a walk in Howth and a visit to the Hurdy Gurdy, after which a discussion was had between Pat (Hurdy Gurdy curator) and the original cataloguer. From a chance visit to a historic site, began the mammoth task of cataloguing an entire collection based in a small independent museum.
From June to October this was a solo project where the original cataloguer had devised a solution from Open Source software on how to store the collection details and created a backup Access database. At the beginning of October, cataloguer no. 2 came on board, an extra pair of hands to catalogue and take images of the collection. Now we were a team, we could both work on site at weekends in between our ‘day jobs’, cataloguing the artefacts in our spare time, once we had amassed the ‘metadata’ for the items.
Whilst we worked at updating the catalogue and hosting it online via our Omeka.net site, we also wanted to widen the audience for the Hurdy Gurdy. We had witnessed the impact that social media had on the audience expansion at the National Library of Ireland. Whose social media presence here in Ireland is well-known and admired within the Library and Information Professional community and has also received recognition from Irish media. Recognising the connections between Twitter in the 21st century and the beginnings of ‘wireless‘ and radio at Martello Tower #2, we set up a Twitter account.
From this little acorn has grown followers not only within Ireland, but across the globe. We can share our images and our collections, we can communicate to a wider audience than has been previously possible. Prior to our addition of Twitter, the Hurdy Gurdy had a website and a Facebook page, all have been kept updated by the team of enthusiasts and volunteers who are the backbone of the Hurdy Gurdy, alongside the curator Pat Herbert.
We have now created this blog to chart our progress, as most of the information we uncover cannot be added into the catalogue or shared via a 140 character tweet! So here in this blog we hope to expand on the information we are gathering around the collection items. We will also update you on our progress, the problems we encounter and any resolutions we may discover along the way. This is a huge task for a team of two, as the collecting of the data concerning each item can at times be a slow process. Bear with us and hopefully, you will enjoy the journey.