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Yesteryear Captured on Clare Library Website

Limerick Post, Saturday, 8th December 2007

An online database of over 8,000 archived images of County Clare was last night announced as one of the main winner's at Chamber Ireland's Excellence in Local Government Awards 2007.

'Foto', a photographic project by Clare County Library, won the 'Arts and Culture' category beating off competition from across the country. The collections date from the late 19th century and cover topics like archaeology, architecture, railways, landscape, flora, postcards, mortuary cards, gravestones and people.

Mayor of Clare, Cllr Patricia McCarthy, described the award as a wonderful tribute to the dedication and vision of library staff. "Those who have worked on this project have done so with the aim of further enhancing and the wider library service. I know that the Library is especially thankful to the people who have donated photographs and collections to the project, as without their support none of this would have been possible", she said.

Commenting on the project, Mr. Noel Crowley, Clare County Librarian explained, "Launched in August 2004, 'Foto' is made available through the 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 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.

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.

Mr. Crowley said, "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."

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